Monday, August 25, 2008
Dumbass Design™: The Rhinoceros Hornbill
Visiting the San Diego Zoo, or as I call it The World Famous, last weekend, I was struck by the appearance of the Rhinoceros Hornbill, a creature found in tropical southern Asia and the nearby islands, a range that includes parts of Malayasia, Java, Sumatra and Borneo. The large hornlike object on its head, present both in males and females is called a casque. Eye color is the easiest way to tell the sexes apart, with males having orange eyes and females, like the one pictured here, having whitish blue eyes.
Wondering about the evolutionary advantage of this large and apparently extraneous appendage, this reporter was fortunate enough to get an interview with a Rhinoceros Hornbill to discuss the creature's most striking feature.
Lotsa 'Splainin' 2 Do: Hello. Thanks for agreeing to the interview. Let's get right down to it. What's up with the casque?
Rhinoceros Hornbill: What's it to you? You writin' a book?
LS2D: Actually, I write a blog.
RH: Ooh, a blogger! What's it like getting out of your mama's basement? I guess I should consider it a honor you decided to put on pants!
LS2D: Nobody told me hornbills were so sarcastic.
RH: And nobody told your mama to stop dressing you funny. I agree to an interview, hoping it's like some behind the scenes stuff for a high class nature show, and then I find out it's for a blog feature called Dumbass Design™. How am I supposed to feel?
LS2D: It's not an insult to you. It's a comment on the idea that evolution is some kind of purpose driven...
RH: Yeah, terrific. Not listening! Tell me something. Are you a male or a female?
LS2D: I'm a male. Sexual dimorphism in humans is easy to spot...
RH: Fascinating. Still not listening. So you're a male and you have nipples but you don't produce milk. Why don't you 'splain that, 'Splainer Boy!
LS2D: You make a valid point, though this is common among mammals...
RH: HELLO! Maybe you haven't noticed, but I DON'T CARE! Jeez Louise, are you sure you're at the top of the food chain?
LS2D: Well, I'm starting to get a few ideas for recipes for hornbill.
RH: Ha, ha! Good one, Monkey Boy! Guess what? This interview is over.
LS2D: I'm sorry if I wasn't who you expected.
RH: You're sorry? I thought at least you'd bring one of those fancy cameras for the HDTV market. I'd look great on HDTV! I thought I might meet Sigourney Weaver! Instead, I get a blogger! Somedays, it isn't worth the trouble to roll out of the nest in the morning.
This concludes the post on the Rhinoceros Hornbill. Whenever the next post in the Dumbass Design™ series is written, it probably will not include an interview with the creature.