Adaptive Radiation is so Punk Rock, you know what I mean? Sort of? Yea, I suppose it could be a stretch, but hear me out! Really! This is verrrrry interesting… I’ve had my nose fixed deep in a book about evolution and island biogeography (and other things that make for great first date conversations) and the concept of adaptive radiation was presented using the tenrecs of Madagascar (as wonderful a place as the Galapagos for island biogeography research). Never seen a tenrec? Neither have I, but if you google an image you will be surprised by their “cuteness”. That’s the scientific term for their looks.
Tenrecs, benefiting from lack of predation on the island, have thrived and there are approximately 34 different species of tenrecs! Much like Darwin’s finches who, though part of the same family, developed different shaped beaks per each species to specialize in eating a particular food source as well as eliminate the odds of fighting for space and good eats with other types of finches. That is thanks to adaptive radiation or convergent evolution – the idea that members of the same family are afforded the chance to develop differences among themselves to lessen competition and ensure that species survival. Pretty cool stuff. So what does that have to do with punk rock or Animal of The Muppets?
Well, consider MUSIC our Kingdom; POPULAR MUSIC our Class; ROCK AND ROLL our Superfamily; PUNK ROCK our Family. We’ll pretend also that New York City is our own personal Madagascar – an island unto itself. Tired of competing with the species known as the Singer/Songwriters of the Lower East Side (Paul Simon, you son of a…)? How could you – you shaggy haired, angst-driven, alcohol induced music enthusiasts – make your mark in the Kingdom of Music? Television, Patti Smith and others decided that they could start their own family, take over certain venues and attract a different crowd of people entirely. From there, you find different species of the family PUNK ROCK evolving – The Ramones, The Stooges, Angel and the Snake, etc. It was survival of the fittest and while I agree that the nonconformity and DIY nature of Punk Rockers led to their evolution, I’d hate to tell them that they are all a part of Mr. Darwin’s popular theory of Natural Selection.
Animal is the ultimate rock n’ roll puppet. The Muppets defined the family that is POPULAR PUPPETRY and I’m just happy to see them hitting the big screen again! Sure I might have stretched my unevolved theory into including The Muppets for the sake of putting Animal’s picture on my page, but who cares? The next generation will be better for having seen a green frog share a special love with a grossly self-involved pig and that, my friends, might lead to a whole other conversation about where evolution is headed. Happy Thanksgiving!