I’ve often said that we should learn more from nature and that nature does not waste anything. True. But you know what? Nature isn’t necessarily very efficient either.
Of course not. Humans are part of nature and humans are far from efficient. We all know that.
But I am actually thinking of a species that we have a lot in common with.
Just like us, they’re very intelligent. Just like us, they can learn to distinguish between the 26 letters of the western alphabet, between music composed by different classic composers and between paintings created by different painters.
Just like us, they need food and shelter and drinking water and affection and just like us, they are aware of pests and infections.
Unlike us, individuals of that species can accelerate much faster. Even having the fastest sports cars does not help us. (There is only one very recent Tesla that appears to be able to accelerate faster. Formula 1 cars accelerate slightly more slowly.)
They can also reach much higher speeds than the fastest human runners.
Unlike us – we have trouble recognizing individuals of the species – they recognize individual human faces. Unlike us, they can see across a huge distance, too.
Just like the female of the human species for 20 or 30 or 40 years of her life, the female of that species ovulates once a month.
Here’s the thing.
Human females lose a lot of iron each month when they go through their periods, so much that it can lead to anemia. Human females often – not all of them – experience pain and discomfort for 3 to 7 or 10 days a month, during their period. And this happens for 20 or 30 or 40 years of a woman’s life.
This focus on eggs also means that the blood vessels in the arms and legs of human females tend to shut down in cold weather to preserve heat and nutrients in the rump, making females go cold (which sometimes causes unkind men who are burdened with a sense of entitlement to the female body to joke about cold females).
The females of that other species usually lay two eggs once a month, in one clutch. Even if the female knows that the eggs aren’t fertilized, she’d better sit on them for 18, 19 days because if she doesn’t, nature will make the next batch of eggs arrive sooner, which requires many resources from the body. The eggs come, whether they are fertilized or not.
Not very efficient, Mother Nature!
If the female of that species has a mate, he too will sit on the eggs and if there’s offspring, he too will look after them. Unlike humans, they’re pretty emancipated. Like humans, they tend to mate for life but have affairs.
By the way, the females of this species also know that when the eggs are due, they need extra calcium.
Can you guess which species this is?
We took it out of its native habitat and spread it all around the world. It’s everywhere now, except Antarctica.