An overarching theme in General Biology is gaining an appreciation for the vast diversity of life. Prevailing ideas like Charles Darwin’s theory of evolution help explain present-day phylogeny while tracing back a long history of speciation, the process by which one species splits into two.
Recognizing that evolution is complex and not latter-like is essential to understanding how we have arrived at the number of extant species that coexist on Earth today. Present-day biological diversity is a product of branching phylogeny and not ladder-like steps of one thing becoming another. If that were the case, we wouldn’t still have the simple sponges and microorganisms that reproduce today.
In a dream I had the other night, I was selected by the US government to be a test subject frozen in a laboratory somewhere in China. I was told I would remain frozen in a dormant stage for 20,000 years before being revived back to life.
For whatever reason, I agreed. Maybe I didn’t have a choice? I can’t remember all of the details. I think they claimed that in the future, humans would live much longer lives (or possibly live forever) and this was a way I could be a part of it.
After I was 17,000 years into my journey, I suddenly became conscious. Something was wrong. When I opened my eyes, I was sitting in a chamber filled with room-temperature water and there was no one around.
I couldn’t remember where I was or why I was there. When I tried standing up, my legs felt like rubber. Actually, my entire body felt like rubber. I remember comparing how I felt to Gumby. I spotted paperwork that I read to figure out where I was. I also determined that the ice chamber I was in must have failed due to technical reasons. I thawed much sooner than intended.
I snuck out from the room I was in and tried to explore the facility. I wanted answers but I couldn’t find anyone to talk to. I eventually came across a report.
It turns out I couldn’t find anyone because there was no one left to find. A few hundred years after they froze me, a previously harmless species of bacteria mutated into something incredibly contagious and deadly. Within a few years, it wiped out everyone. Well, everyone except for me.
Without humans there to run the planet, the evolution of other species proceeded at an incredible rate. The future world was nothing like what I expected.
Even if it was just a dream, experiencing what it was like to be the only person alive was VERY WEIRD and fairly disturbing. When I left the facility, I saw a world filled with different species unlike anything alive today. Some of them were pleasant – creatures I wish were real. Others, not so much.
My dream ended with me foolishly sitting inside of an unfamiliar device that proceeded to launch me into outer space where I floated away into a black hole and then woke up.
From my dream, I realized 3 things.
1. I do NOT want to live forever because I do NOT want to be the last person alive.
2. I do NOT want to live long enough to witness long-term speciation first-hand. I’d like to leave this world while Homo sapiens are still the dominant species.
3. Even if I could live forever, the sun most definitely cannot. I don’t know that I need to be alive when the Milky-way galaxy collapses.
LOL LOOK AT WHAT GEN BIO HAS DONE TO ME. I COMPLETELY blame this dream nightmare on the Biology Department at Rutgers. x)
I’ve spent that much time memorizing the “Tree of Life” for my exam on Sunday that now I’m witnessing speciation and extinction first-hand in my dreams. Bio all day, bio all night. What a vivid and relevant dream. If only test-taking came this easily to me! I hope I get a good grade on this exam! 😉