Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Apparent Quick Adaptability Of Creatures

Yesterday I wrote on "The Apparent Intelligence of Creatures," and I thank you for your curious, scientifically-oriented questions and comments. If I ever get a FAQ page up and running, I will direct you there for the useful, ready made answers I will have written by then.

Today I'm going to come up with a sequel to yesterday's post, since I was able to witness a few more things in regards to the subjects of yesterday's study. Today I'm thinking of "The Apparent Quick Adaptability of Creatures."

I was halfway expecting this. I'm glad that the bus comes to pick up the kids at about the same time everyday. Since it's so predictable, I'm able to be in place to see it without much worry about it beforehand. I go to the window at about the right time, the kids are there, and the bus comes. It's all like clockwork.

Yesterday and today both there was a school truck near where the kids normally stand waiting for the bus. Whether that guy's there for this switch in their routine, I don't know. I didn't see him doing any overt motions about what they should do.

Here's the apparent quick adaptability of the kids. Yesterday they were in the place where they've normally been, then had to exercise their apparent intelligence in the light of a different turn of events, the bus coming from a different direction. Today, for the most part, they were prepared for the bus coming from the west instead of the south. Meaning there was a more northerly direction they were facing.

It worked out exactly like that, as sure as anything. They apparently adapted just that quickly. (I use the word "apparently" because I don't know what sort of direction they may have gotten from the bus driver yesterday, or the guy in the truck, or their parents at home, perhaps reading a set of instructions about what their kids should do.)

But remember yesterday when I speculated that there could be the one kid who wouldn't get it right and then would fall on his face in the snow? There was that one kid today! Whether he hadn't adapted, or didn't get the note, or hadn't been present yesterday, I don't know. From my point of view at the window this is all like a silent movie with no subtitles. I myself am trying to adapt to the situation on the ground without the benefit of all my senses, without the benefit of hearing the bus driver, the guy in the truck, or of seeing any possible notes sent home by the school.

He came around front of the truck, like he'd suddenly realized the bus was somewhere different than it usually is. He made a sharp turn, then he slipped and went down! He was out of my view, having fallen behind a snow bank between him and me. I watched, hoping he wasn't hurt. Within 10 seconds, thereabouts, he was up and rushing north to get on the bus. But ... survival of the fittest.

What would be really interesting is if I could somehow observe him in particular tomorrow, to see whether he also adapts quickly to the situation. But I won't be able to tell which one he is, unless he doesn't adapt and falls again. My assumption would be -- unless he is a complete boneheaded nitwit -- that he will expect the bus to come from the west tomorrow.

It does my old heart good to see the way the younger generation of human beings deals with things. They are apparently just as quickly adaptable to changing circumstances on the ground as we were back when I was a kid.

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