Natural Selection

The Flat Flounder Squirrel

Prior to the suburbanization of the rural areas, squirrels had little to fear from crossing a road. As time slowly advanced, road usage grew as people moved into and traveled through the area. This increase in traffic began to take its toll, and many squirrels were killed as they scurried across the highways in search for food. As an automobile approached, the squirrel would tend to change direction many times in the middle of the road running back and forth. This hesitation and increased road time on the part of the squirrel would lead to their early demise. Some of the squirrels would not change direction repeatedly but instead run straight for the road’s shoulder, then into the woods. These squirrels tended to be naturally selected to survive and hence produced more offspring. Soon the squirrel population was on the rise again.


As time continued, the squirrels learned to survive on the roads by evolving into a more flattened flounder shape. In this case the squirrels were mimicking a squirrel that had already been flattened by the wheels of automobiles. This new mutating survival tactic was due largely to the fact that drivers tend to swerve around already squashed squirrels. This current mutation presented a new advantage for the species. A flat shaped squirrel would have a higher survival rate, giving it the ability to survive on the highway for longer periods of time.


Excerpted from The Flat Flounder Squirrel, written by Karl Crawford.

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