- Robotics

Never Underestimate the Genetic Upline of a Pterodactyl

The other day, I was at an outdoors concert and festival at the beach. It was well attended by humans, dogs and birds. It’s amazing that there was something there for every body, regardless of species. There were some folks dancing near the stage and other people in the back row waving their hands. One lady had a piece of fried fish – part of her “fish and chips” lunch from the seafood snack bar. She was waving it to the music, because it was already in her hand. Guess what happened next.

Right, the modern equivalent of a Pterodactyl (a seagull) came swooping down, perfectly timing the rhythm to the music and the waving of the arm, and snatched that fish piece right out of her hands. Everyone saw it, so I have plenty of witnesses to this here story. If you think the future of robotics and swarming drone warfare (think: Skynet, or the Matrix) is going to be cool, let me tell you that mother nature, evolution and our modern seagull has a thing or two to teach us. Namely in this case; ” Never Underestimate the Genetic Upline of a Pterodactyl.”

The bird then flew away for parts unknown with other seagulls in chase just in case he dropped any during his flight to feast on some rather expensive “tourist trap” fish and chips. Humans must think they are so coordinated, clever and agile, but this bird put that overweight lady to shame. Once it had its beak around that fish, he owned it and he was gone, simple as that.

Okay so, I wonder what that bird was thinking. Was he thinking, that the lady was challenging him, or daring him to come and get it, or was it all purely instinctual. “Hey, there is a nice big peace of already cooked fish, I am hungry, I can get that fish without getting wet, and so, I will just wait for the perfect timing and it will be mine!” If so, the rest was history wasn’t it.

The lady looked so astonished, that the bird had nabbed her fish, personally, I wasn’t surprised, but I did enjoy the humor of it all, and the agility of the bird, how it effortless came in for the score, and flew off with grace, like a light fighter attack aircraft coming in for a strike. The bird made it look so easy, but evolution probably did most of the work, now that I think on it. Both for the overweight human too na├»ve to think that could happen to her, and the bird, that who was so well adapted to grab a moving target, it didn’t even think twice.