Nautilus

Evolution’s Contrarian Capacity for Creativity

The easily confused willow tit and black-capped chickadeef.c.franklin via Flickr / Brandon Keim

One of my favorite pastimes while traveling is watching birds. Not rare birds, mind you, but common ones: local variations on universal themes of sparrow and chickadee, crow and mockingbird.

I enjoy them in the way that other people appreciate new food or architecture or customs, and it can be a strange habit to explain. You’re 3,000 miles from home, and less interested in a famous statue than the pigeon on its head?! Yet there’s something powerfully fascinating about how familiar essences take on slightly unfamiliar forms; an insight, even, into the miraculous essence of life, a force capable of resisting the universe

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