'Twas the Dawn of Selection

by Dr. Joseph E. Laferriere

Twas the dawn of Selection, and all through the ocean,
Not a creature was stirring. No beast was in motion.
Ammonia and methane swirled through the air
While great sparks of lightning flashed here and there.

It rained and it poured, a scene far from placid.
Somewhere in the air formed an amino acid.
The acid washed down and into the sea,
And there met another, and another made three.

The three joined together, formed into a chain,
Along with some others brought down by the rain.
Yet other chains formed in that chemical soup,
And adhered together like a small ball of goop.

Then what 'neath the primaeval sky should be seen
But a microsphere with eight tiny proteins!
First one, then another, then more of them came,
But not all that formed were exactly the same.

Some sat and did nothing, while others grew,
Absorbing the molecules out of the stew.
Eons passed, need I dare tell,
But one of those spheres became the first cell.

The cell said to itself, "You know, you've got potential
"To be something unique and quite differential."
"You can conquer this ocean and spread 'cross the land.
"You can soar like an eagle and walk like a man!

"On, protein! On, enzymes! On, phosphoric acid!
"On, ribosomes, lipids, and nucleic acids!
"To the head of the beach! To the top of the hill!
"Evolve, Evolve, Evolve if you will!"

The cell then divided. Its offspring went far.
They spread 'cross the earth, then they reached for the stars.
They formed mushrooms and butterflies, bushes and sparrows,
Seaweeds and dinosaurs, bushes and sparrows.

And what should evolve as the uppermost creature?
A jolly old elfen biology teacher!
A sheep in wolf's clothing, none nobler than he.
In the classroom he chortles and snickers with glee,

But come Christmas and finals when all's said and done,
His heart and his markbook fuse into one.
As I heard him exclaim with exuberant delight,
"And to all, and to all a good night!"

Other Resources on Evolution

Great Transitions: The Origin of Tetrapods - video worksheet to go with HHMI program

Essays on Evolution - a list of question prompts for review and discussion on evolution. Can also be incorporated into assessments

The Decay Curve of Twizzlers - use Twizzlers candy to understand the decay of isotopes and how that decay is used for carbon dating