It’s a bit before 6 AM ~ the sun is still a rosy glow to the east. I am sitting outside with coffee watching some morning doves perched on the building in front of me, their volecrine antics silhouetted against the brightening sky.

Peaceful mood music plays from my iPhone but is often drowned out by the sounds of an awakening city: diesel buses, a trash truck backing up, the drone of traffic on I-95. The air is breezy and almost cool enough for a sweater, but not quite.

Recently NASA announced that by using the supersensitive Kepler telescope, which detects the faintest darkening of a star as a relatively tiny planet passes in front of it, scientists discovered one planet some 1400 light years away, called Kepler 452B, that has many of the characteristics of Earth: similar size, orbit, and distance from star (or in the so-called “Goldilocks zone,” that is, not too close, not too far).

The Kepler technology is breathtaking, and this planet, NASA scientists say, could contain life.
Other scientists tell me that man evolved after the meteor impact that killed off the dinosaurs (the so-called “K/T extinction event”), that in fact, all life we have on earth today evolved from the few survivors of that impact.

Birds, they say, like the ones I am watching now, evolved from the few survivors of the dinosaur kingdom.

So in other words, in the same evolutionary period from the meteor crash until now, modern birds, and man, both evolved from their prehistoric ancestors.

Baffling. Some umpteen hundred million years of natural selection have produced man, the proud descendent of a blind rodent about the size of a clam, and now the inventor of iPhones, trash trucks, and the marvelous Kepler telescope.

Those exact same umpteen hundred million years also produced birds, descendents of the once mighty dinosaurs, including the humble chicken I plan to have for lunch today.

How is that? Did one evolve while the other devolved? Or in the brilliant conjecture known as “the survival of the fittest” has the chicken evolved to become somehow superior to say, a T-Rex?

Somethin’ don’t figure in my silly, bird brain, but then, I may need a few more turns of the evolutionary crank to get with the program.

Brant Huddleston

If you dig clams, metaphorically speaking, that is, you might also like “Attack of the Clams,” which is my attempt at humor.

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