Poems and Thoughts by Frank Maurer
Nicholas, the future Zoologist. November 2022.Well, Nicholas is a 14 year old boy who wants to be a Zoologist.
His mother called me to ask if I might be interviewed.
(She had chatted with me on the 'phone, while making a doctor's appointment.
I guess I said enough that she thought I was an able zoologist!)
The day arrived when Nicholas and his parents came for the interview.
We started, Nicholas with pen in hand, by the non-native eucalyptus trees.
We talked together about how there was little life stirring up there--
Introduced plant species are the same as constructing a parking lot for wildlife.
Next on to a stand of Elymus glaucus, the Blue Wild Rye grass.
Here, one would be much more likely to see native fauna amongst the stems.
Then on by the plug-in hybrid car-- a small positive step, slowing climate change for all of us.
We passed by my little pond, explaining the necessity of water for life.
Around behind the house, Nicholas viewed and talked about antlers, horns, and tusks;
All as a result of parallel evolution, manifesting uses for defence and aggression
And just plain, obvious secondary sexual characteristics! More subtly, we viewed a fluorescent rock,
Demonstrating the added ability of birds to see in wavelengths beyond ours.
Finally, some real vertebrates: a Whiteface Angus steer,
And three emu--ratites (flightless birds) from Australia.
The steer licked Nicholas' hand, showing some of his (it's) dentition--
Flat and gently ridged, adapted for a grazing life,
And the emu with greatly reduced wings and huge legs,
Demonstrating a life which evolved from flight to bipedalism.
As we concluded, I asked Nicholas if he had any further questions.
He concluded with a smile, "Nope, you've covered it all!"
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