dolphins evolve opposable thumbs...
Some humor/satire from the Onion on a favorite and relevant topic...
HONOLULU–In an announcement with grave implications for the primacy of the species of man, marine biologists at the Hawaii Oceanographic Institute reported Monday that dolphins, or family Delphinidae, have evolved opposable thumbs on their pectoral fins.
One of the evolved dolphins, whose opposable thumbs have struck fear in the hearts of humankind.
"I believe I speak for the entire human race when I say, 'Holy #$^&,'" said Oceanographic Institute director Dr. James Aoki, noting that the dolphin has a cranial capacity 40 percent greater than that of humans. "That's it for us monkeys."
Aoki strongly urged humans, especially those living near the sea, to learn to communicate using a system of clicks and whistles in a frequency range of 4 to 150 kHz. He also encouraged humans to "start practicing their echo-location as soon as possible."
Delphinologists have reported more than 7,000 cases of spontaneous opposable-digit manifestation in the past two weeks alone, with "thumbs" observed on the bottle-nosed dolphin, the Atlantic humpback dolphin, and even the rare Ganges River dolphin.
"It appears to be species-wide," said dolphin specialist Clifford Brees of the Kewalo Basin Marine Mammal Laboratory, speaking from the shark cage he welded shut around himself late Monday. "And it may be even worse: We haven't exactly been eager to check for thumbs on other marine mammals belonging to the order of cetaceans, such as the killer whale....we're really in the soup now."
Thus far, all the opposable digits encountered appear to be fully functional, making it possible for dolphins–believed to be capable of faster and more complex cogitation than man–to manipulate objects, fashion tools, and construct rudimentary pulley and lever systems.
"They really seem to be making up for lost time with this thumb thing," said Dr. Jim Kuczaj, a University of California–San Diego biologist who has studied the seasonal behavior of dolphins for more than 30 years. "Last Friday, a crude seaweed-and-shell abacus washed up on the beach near Hilo, Hawaii. The next day, a far more sophisticated abacus, fashioned from some unknown material and capable of calculating equations involving numbers of up to 16 digits, washed up on the same beach. The day after that, the beach was littered with thousands of what turned out to be coral-silicate and kelp-based biomicrocircuitry....What are they doing down there?"
A primitive axe crafted out of driftwood and shell that is believed to be the handiwork of dolphins.
It is unknown what precipitated the dolphins' sudden development of opposable thumbs. Some dolphin behaviorists believe that the gentle marine mammal, pushed to the brink by humanity's reckless pollution and exploitation of the sea, tapped into some previously unmined mental powers to spontaneously generate a thumb-like appendage. However, given that 95 percent of the world's dolphin experts have committed suicide since learning of the development, the full story may never be known.
"You must believe, sleek ocean masters, that many of us homo sapiens weep with shame and disgust over the degradation to which our species has subjected our All-Mother, the Great World-Sea," read the suicide note of Dr. Richard Morse, a Brisbane, Australia, delphinologist and regular contributor to Marine Mammal Science. "If you are reading this, I estimate that it is the day we know as August 31, 2000. Please be decent and kind masters to our poor ape-race....I'm so sorry about the tracking collars."
"Scientists once wondered whether dolphins, with their remarkably advanced social and language structures, are actually smarter than we are," said Aoki, ushering reporters out of the laboratory he claimed "will either be a smoking hole or a zoo exhibit in the coming Dolphin Age." "Well, we're not wondering anymore."