One thing I learned from my Ecology laboratory class last semester was that everything in the environment was interconnected. It may not seem like it but a minimal disturbance in the balance in the environment would affect the organisms living in it and ultimately, us, humans. Eventually.
I’m nearing the end of my junior year’s first semester and I’m trying to figure out how all of these subjects I’m taking in are related to each other and how it should affect my perspective of things. To be honest though, I haven’t quite encountered a professor like my Ecology laboratory teacher last semester this time around. In my whole academe life, he was the first teacher to make me realize the importance of piecing information together learned in the classroom and applying them in real life. He made me realize that we weren’t just gathering stones and collecting samples for the sake of it. Ultimately, Ecology’s, main concern, despite focusing on lesser plants and organisms at times, is how the environment and slight alterations in it affect humanity as a whole.
I just finished watching a documentary on the evolution of speed and I can’t help but be amazed at how every body part of an organism is intricately designed to do specific functions. Take the cheetahs for example, the cheetah’s body is built for speed and every part of its body is uniquely constructed to make it suitable for it. Its head, collar bone, large chest, light legs with extended Achilles tendons, and spine are all modified for enable the animal to survive a life of speed.
Natural Selection is the key player in bringing about these modifications that makes the cheetah what is today according to the scientists in the video. That is what I’ve also learned over the course of about five months of studying Evolutionary biology. Natural Selection it seems favors the organism with the most efficient mechanism of surviving the environment over those who lack of it, i.e., ‘survival of the fittest, elimination of the unfit’. The organisms alive today therefore are descendants of the fittest organisms of their time and have inherited as well the mechanisms or adaptations that brought about the survival of their predecessors. Its body is a product of years and years of modification- acquisition and elimination of traits- in order to adapt and better suit the changing environment. To isolate a specific trait and enhance it against nature’s course is but unwise as Natural Selection works with the organism’s whole body and not just a portion of it. This downside of human interference is observable in race horses as more faster horses are produced at the cost of fragility.
Is it all really just Natural Selection?
I refuse to believe in just that as the reason as to why organisms are the way they are today. It may seem so rational but certainly something greater than such is at work here. I believe that the whole universe, in all its complexity, dances to a uniform rhythm governed by a force more powerful than what our limited minds can fathom.