Blue Planet 2. Problem solving and coordinated group action by clownfish. Who knew? Besides other clownfish, I mean. And what’s with the meter long carnivorous worms? Teeth sharp as pinking shears, hence the name: Bobbitt. As in Lorena. David Attenborough left that part out. The damn things can get up to ten feet, I read, like the sandworms in Dune. They can lop a foot long fish clean in half. A Devonian Era nightmare, giant meat eating invertebrates. Acid visions of carnivorous trilobites. Thankfully trilobites went extinct long before we ever got here. (Nor were they ever giant, nor scary, nor anything but invertebratefully adorable, like the little darlings scattered about the bookshelves here.)
Then the scene with hundreds of reef sharks swimming menacingly above thousands of groupers. Suddenly l’amour drives the groupers mad and they rush upward into the sharks, shedding eggs and milt to the seven seas. The sharks go into a feeding frenzy and the surging waters are all blood and roe and sperm, a veritable fish fuck massacre. There seems to be something dreadfully amiss there. Or not. No one ever said natural selection was logical. Ghastly, maybe.
The clownfish were so neat and orderly and mannered in comparison. They’ll go far. Check back in a hundred million years. Groupers will have vanished and clownfish will be talking and thinking vast, deep thoughts.
There’s a fascinating Freudian slip there; or, more likely, spell check messing up again. I refer to “went instinct” instead of “went extinct.” Leads to thoughts of the killer instinct, inherited from these ancient creatures, still present in Homo Sap. But then, I just finished reading a biography of Edward Gorey, so it’s probably just me.
Great catch, and miniature essay. Alas, I fixed it, tho’ with a flourish and an instant adverb that would make the OED just the once were it ever noticed before becoming instantly extinct itself, like those elements invented that last a millisecond with no impact on the universe whatsoever.
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