Curators Astounded!

Well as you may have guessed the subject isn’t as shocking as my title suggests, but I couldn’t help but to spin from the Guardian article.  I really find it hilarious when I come across anything that says scientists are “astounded”, “baffled”, “shocked”, “puzzled”, – I guess that’s a topic for another time…  Nevertheless a really cool butterfly has emerged at the “Sensational Butterflies” exhibit at the British Museum in London – a bilateral gynandromorph!  The Guardian reports today that this specimen of Papilio memnon just emerged and is beginning to draw small crowds of visitors.  I know I’d love to see one of these alive again – although the zoo situation would take away quite a bit of the excitement.  I think the only thing more exciting than seeing one of these live in the field would be to net one myself!

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One little thing tripped my skeptical sensors and that is the quote at the end of the article taken from the curator of butterflies, Blanca Huertas. “The gynandromorph butterfly is a fascinating scientific phenomenon, and is the product of complex evolutionary processes. It is fantastic to have discovered one hatching on museum grounds, particularly as they are so rare.”

Well, I don’t specifically see how these are a “product of … evolutionary processes” inasmuch as all life in all forms is a product of evolution.  These are sterile “glitches” that are cool, but not anything that has been specifically evolved for or against.  Perhaps it would be more adept to call this a fascinating process of genetics (which the article actually describes with accuracy).  Also – butterflies emerge as adults and hatch as caterpillars – but that’s just me being picky.



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