Thursday, November 18, 2010

If eagles can evolve, can we?

There are a pair of eagles in Clayoquot Sound that are apparently evolving - to lessen genetically-programmed violence. It makes me think that if eagles can evolve, maybe even humans can too!

On a small island off the harbour of Tofino, there is a pair of eagles, mated for life, that have lived there for almost two decades. This is their story.

Normally eagles have just a single chick each year. They have several eggs, but only one normally survives. This is because in the eagle world fratricide is the norm. The first chick born kills the others. "Neither parent will make the slightest effort to stop the fratricide," says the American Bald Eagle Info Site.

But Tofino wildlife observers have noticed that this particular pair of eagles always has two chicks. Every year for more than a decade. Two chicks. The guide who was telling me this story thinks that the parents must have intervened in the sibling death matches.

I find this striking. This means that this pair of eagles is going against its - well, conditioning.

I mean, don't you, as a human, find it extremely difficult to change? Imagine how hard it must have been for these eagles! They don't have language, self-help books, or therapists - or even cops to maintain civil order amongst eagles. They did it anyway.

Makes me take a look at those things about myself that I get resigned about, or think are genetic and therefore unchangeable.

Makes me think that maybe humans might just evolve too, in time to save ourselves. (Okay, I know it's a leap, but it makes me think that anyway!).

What do you think?

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