The Art of Nature, Iguana Edition


Sometimes, you see a photo featured somewhere and you know you must share it with your friends and readers.

Iguana at Butterfly World, Stellenbosch, Western Cape Province, South Africa. Photo and caption courtesy Leo za1 / © Rute Martins of Leoa's Photography / CC-BY-SA-3.0.

Iguana at Butterfly World, Stellenbosch, Western Cape Province, South Africa. Photo and caption courtesy Leo za1 / © Rute Martins of Leoa’s Photography / CC-BY-SA-3.0 via Wikimedia Commons.

Isn’t that wonderful? I look at that face and see an ode to evolution right there – a symphony of natural processes and natural history.It reminds me of what RQ said on our most recent installment of Friday Freethought:

Because something that assembles itself is so much cooler than something built – a painting by an artist can be wonderful and impressive, but you’ll always know that someone took the time to learn to paint, put the colours together, think of the design, etc. But imagine a painting that comes to be on its own – through random processes! How impressive would that be? Like the crystallization of water into snowflakes. Or the Mandelbrot leaves on that plant last week. Or the way cold fronts and warm fronts can combine to make a giant, organized hurricane. So much more awesome than just saying, [entity] did it. To me, anyways…

I’ve seen nature paint. I’ve seen it paint in space, where stars are born and where they die. I’ve seen it paint on still water on sunny days.

DSC07818I’ve seen its art in the orderly arrangements of crystals, and frosty paths sparkling in the sun. I’ve seen nature paint with red rocks against cobalt blue skies. I’ve seen more art in nature than I’ve ever seen in a gallery. Even the gallery is nature’s art, in a way: we are products of natural processes. The art we make, the art we call “unnatural,” is produced by the end products of mindless forces of nature.

You can see it in the blooming of flowers…

…and the unfolding of ferns.

And yes, even in iguanas. Iguanas are remarkably photogenic.

Sage iguana.

Portait of Green iguana (Iguana iguana) taken in Florida Keys, USA. Image courtesy Artur Pedziwilk via Wikimedia Commons.

Portait of Green iguana (Iguana iguana) taken in Florida Keys, USA. Image courtesy Artur Pedziwilk via Wikimedia Commons.

Seaside iguana.

A Green Iguana sunbathing at Marriott on St. Thomas. Image and caption courtesy Fred Hsu via Wikimedia Commons.

A Green Iguana sunbathing at Marriott on St. Thomas. Image and caption courtesy Fred Hsu via Wikimedia Commons.

The iguana as The Thinker.

The Thinker, Iguana Edition. Image courtesy Orchi via Wikimedia Commons.

The Thinker, Iguana Edition. Image courtesy Orchi via Wikimedia Commons.

And, for the geologists in the audience: Iguana on the rocks.

Galapagos iguana: Conolophus subcristatus. Image courtesy Peter Wilton via Wikimedia Commons.

Galapagos iguana: Conolophus subcristatus. Image courtesy Peter Wilton via Wikimedia Commons.

“Endless forms most beautiful,” indeed.

Comments

  1. rq says

    That last one could also be for the drinkers in the audience. ;)
    Love the videos in this post, time lapse is a technology that I thoroughly endorse, for precisely this reason here: some processes seem to slow, that it’s impossible to watch in unfold. And then, voila!, with a little time lapse to speed it up to a human pace, one can observe the magic and the wonder.
    And there’s something about iguanas…

  2. Lithified Detritus says

    Beautiful indeed. Watching the time-lapse of the ferns in particular, I had almost a sense of animal striving, as if they were consciously reaching out and upward. Silly anthropomorphism, I know, but it does make them seem even more alive.

    • rq says

      Yes! This! In time lapse, you can see all the bits and pieces of a plant wriggling and squirming, and it makes them seem more alive and less sedentary. Like the little stamens on the flowers above, they wriggle. Like little tentacles.

  3. Trebuchet says

    I always find time-lapse videos of plants moving around like that slightly creepy. It makes them seem so …alive somehow!