Cosmic Blueprints

Wednesday, August 20, 2008


Darwin’s theory of evolution is incomplete; evolution by random mutation is a slow and precarious process. The leafy Sea dragon evolved into a seaweed shape for protective camouflage, to look a bit like seaweed might increase conspicuousness and be dangerous.

Leafy Sea dragon Phycodurus eques (on the left) and Seaweed (on the right).
With kind permission from Jeffrey Jeffords (Copyright),

The Indonesian-mimic-octopus is an even more unlikely creature of random mutation. Perhaps unsurprisingly undocumented until 1998 it transmogrifies into at least 17 different life forms. On meeting an enemy it metamorphoses into a creature unpalatable to that predator.

Mimic octopus as a flounder.
Photo with kind permission from (copyright)

Mimic octopus as a poisonous sea snake (sea snake above)
Photo with kind permission from (copyright)

Mimic octopus as a crinoid.
Photo with kind permission from (copyright)

Mimic octopus as a sea star (left)… as a mantis shrimp (right)...
and finally as himself (below).
© Thaumoctopus mimicus Norman & Hochberg, 2005
With kind permission from © Ken Knezick

Statistically Darwinian-evolution cannot be the only mechanism operating such a phantasmagorical and intelligent series of transmogrifications. It is as if all living things have a library of patterns or blueprints that they can access when needed.

I'm reminded of Deleuze & Guatarri's evolution through affiliation, rather than filiation. It seems to fit the idea of convergent evolution. Definition from above source: In evolutionary biology, convergent evolution is when organisms not closely related independently evolve similar traits as a result of having to adapt to similar environments or ecological niches. In cultural evolution, convergent evolution is the development of similar cultural adaptations to similar environmental conditions by different peoples with different ancestral cultures.

Posted by Jonah Dempcy at 12:32 AM  


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