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Archive for 8 juli, 2008

Tisdagsförströelse 20

Förra veckans citat var nog det lättaste hittills tror jag. Det verkar som om alla i kommentatorsbåset snabbt lyckades lista ut vad det var, nämligen Michael Crichtons ”Jurassic Park”. Miss Gillette hade dessutom översatt boken till svenska. Med åtminstone tre översättare som regelbundna besökare var det förstås bara en tidsfråga innan det skulle inträffa.

Nåväl, den här gången tänkte jag ge er en svårare nöt att knäcka (tror jag), på förra veckans tema.

An old paleontological in joke proclaims that mammalian evolution is a tale told by teeth mating to produce slightly altered descendant teeth. Since enamel is far more durable than ordinary bone, teeth may prevail when all else has succumbed to he whips and scorns of geological time. The majority of fossil mammals are known only by their teeth.
Darwin wrote that our imperfect fossil record is like a book preserving just a few pages, of these pages few lines, of the lines few words, and of those words few letters. Darwin used this metaphor to describe the chances of preservation for ordinary hard parts, even for maximally durable teeth. What hope can then be offered to flesh and blood amidst the slings and arrows of such outrageous fortune? Soft parts can only be preserved, by a stroke of good luck, in an unusual geological context – insects in amber, sloth dung in desiccated caves. Otherwise, they quickly succumb to the thousand natural shocks that flesh is heir to – death, disaggregation, and decay, to name but three.

Annonser

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