There’s a cool post over at the Axis of Evo highlighting some fun, Thanksgiving-themed evolution facts. Here’s one of my favorites (had to pick the one that talked about sex, of course):
2. That turkey on the table, unless you got one of those expensive, frou frou free range ones, will probably be a Double Breasted. They get as big as 86 lbs. That’s 1 lb heavier than Nicole Richie was in 2006, by the way. They can’t fly, and they can barely run. Males are so supersized, in fact, that they are physically unable to impregnate the females anymore, and thus humans must intervene in the sex act with some rather simple equipment (if you are brave, you can watch some clips from Dirty Jobs: part 1, part 2; don’t). Compare this size to the maximum size of a wild turkey, its ancestor: 38 lbs. Artificial selection for bigger and and bigger turkeys has thus been hugely successful, and is a great table side demonstration of descent with modification. And there’s still room for growth…the elephant bird of Madagascar weighed 1100 lbs (can you image Mike Rowe wrestling one of them?).
Mmmm, I’m thankful for evolution, or we wouldn’t have such delicious food to eat!