At the moment, I happen to be looking at a list of endangered species. I know, I know — I really shouldn't be partying so hard on a weeknight, but you have to admit it's a lot better than the two hours I once spent reading about airline disasters on Wikipedia. Looking at the list, three things jump out at me. The first is that it's a great deal longer than I was expecting. The scroll bar is a worn-down nub that twitches the page around at the slightest touch. Surely humans didn't put all these species on extinction's doorstep, but the number has to be north of ninety-five percent, right? The thing reads like a subpoena. Second, I was wholly unprepared for just how ridiculous some of the names are. Not to make light of these creatures' peril, but ... okay, how about this. Here are five names from the list that I swear I have not invented:
• Whitaker's Skink
• Jamaican Snoring Frog
• Ringed Boghaunter
• Palezone Shiner
• Toothless Blindcat
We have to save these animals, if only for their impact on language.
(And I checked, it's not actually a cat.)
The third thing is the reason I sought out the list in the first place. I had a theory, which turned out to be correct, that scrolling through the list would conjure a sad, dignified montage of animals struggling to survive. Basically, what I'm getting at is that nothing on there strikes me as something we'd all agree, with nary blink nor thought, deserves to be in the cold ground.
Because oh my sweet galloping Jesus, look what they just pulled out of the ground in China.
Archaeologists have discovered the largest spider fossil ever found, a distant relative of the golden orb spider. If that phrase sounds familiar, you may recall a little field trip I took to examine cloth woven from the silk of that very spider, a beast as big as your hand that weaves webs clear across roads, and that may or may not have a human skull where its heart should be — we have no way of knowing, is my point. So now society has to grapple with the knowledge that this bastard used to be, wait, wait, hold on a second, an inch long? Are you serious? I got all worked up about a prehistoric spider that's AN INCH LONG?
Guess I should have read the article more closely before I started banging this out.
My apologies for the derailment, everybody. No joke, I really did get halfway through writing this under the impression that the spider fossil was huge. At least two feet across, I figured. I had a whole thing planned, there was going to be fossil DNA and spider clones and mass quantities of golden orb silk and somehow it would all be tied to Earth's destruction. But now none of it works. I had the button already written for the end. I even had the title before I started! I never think of the title first. Usually I sit wilted over the keyboard, praying for a title so that I can hit 'publish' and go to bed. (If you've ever noticed a post mysteriously change titles in the morning, it's because I thought of a better one in the shower.)
The biggest spider fossil we've ever found is only an inch across? For real? That's kind of fascinating, actually. Makes you wonder what other life forms existed millions of years ago that were too delicate to be preserved in the fossil record.
Anyway, I've gotten this far, so I'm posting the whole thing as is and calling it a night. How's everyone doing? Good, I hope? Keeping busy?
Man I hate you, tiny spider.