February 13, 2009
Porcupines & Hedgehogs: The Lazy Evolvers
Are porcupines & hedgehogs lazy evolvers or is it that God just wasn’t feeling bum poison and had run out of spare fangs after making all the spiders in my shed? Why and how do they exist, and who exactly do they think they are anyway?
All creatures have in some way managed to develop a particular or shared defence mechanism to some degree, but surely porcupines are taking things a bit far. What exactly is the process for evolving loads of giant spikes on your back so that nobody eats you? What kind of environment did their ancestors exist in where the only way to avoid being eaten was to have giant spikes on your back? I propose this is pure laziness on behalf of evolution.
Hedgehogs have done it as well, only they take the laziness several steps further by incorporating rolling into a ball and lying very still as their extra defence mechanism. Which ancient creature started this trend for lazy evolution? Which one decided that no, they weren’t going to develop poison or really good hearing ability, and that no they were not going to evolve fast running or jumping ability, nor were they going to grow big fangs or razor claws or anything else useful in a scrap. Except giant spikes on my back. Yes, I’m going to evolve giant spikes on my back so that if you eat me I will bloody hurt.
Perhaps the habitat of their evolutionary ancestors was populated by much taller predators that liked to sneak up on their prey from behind like a Portobello road pickpocket. Still, surely they would develop eyes that swivelled round to see all angles, or a sudden spring in their limbs for a speedy scarper. Even poison squirted from their bottoms would seem a more likely development. The second anything untoward approaches from behind, a huge cloud of noxious gas and temporarily blinding acidic juices could overwhelm and confuse the assailant. But no. That would require effort.