Friday, December 08, 2006

Science - Cooperative Hunting

The recent discovery of cooperative hunting between two species could signal the inchoate beginnings of an evolutionary leap similar to that which propelled humans to the dominant position they now maintain. It seems that, in the Red Sea at least, when groupers are thwarted in the hunt, they enlist the aid of moray eels, who –depending on prior engagements—may or may not accompany their petitioner to the offending crevice where said prey is hiding.

The behaviour is similar to the relationship that exists between real-estate agents and homowners; the difference being that an eel is a slimy, slithering legless predator with toxic blood while a real-estate agent actually has legs.

Could this be the beginning of a threat to Homo Sapien dominance? Should we be concerned? Many anthropologists believe that human abilities and civilization began with a need to develop the mental capacity to cooperate in the hunt. We domesticated the dog in order to assist us and expand our sphere of cooperation. This in turn led to other forms of animal husbandry. What if these two species leapfrog over us and become our masters? Perhaps, just to be safe, we should eliminate the eel and grouper from our planet. And, while we’re at it, we could get rid of real-estate agents too.

For if we don’t act now, it could very well be that, down the evolutionary pike, when there is nothing left of man’s hegemony but a fossil record and a layer of oxidized metal far below the Manhattan Desert, the descendants of these creatures will have evolved into two separate societies battling over their own underwater version of the Holy Land. Perhaps in some distant future, when the mighty United Giant Squids provide unlimited support to the Eels, some renegade Groupers will fly a manta ray into the twin coral towers. Then in response, the Squids will ignore the Groupers and, instead, will seek vengance on some unsuspecting nation of Clown Fish.

I don’t know. Maybe I’m just looking too deep into this. I think I’ll go get myself a plate of unagi.

No comments: