Winter came late this year and the river behind our house only recently froze solid. When I went down to check out the ice I found these peculiar tracks.
Every winter a group of coyotes make their way along the river, and at first glance this looked like their footprints but it wasn’t, but what was it?
Perhaps it was some prehistoric life form climbing out of the primordial ooze, something forced to adapt to its environment that has suddenly changed. If I had only arrived a few minutes earlier would I have witnessed a change so dramatic that it defies the laws of natural evolution as hypothesized by paleontologist and evolutionary biologist Stephen Jay Gould?
Gould postulated that while most evolution is marked by long periods of evolutionary stability, it is punctuated by rare instances of branching evolution. Just as I have observed in my own work with corporations, real change is a result of rapid bursts of change at irregular (punctuated) intervals. Trusting natural evolution to create necessary change can take forever. Further, if change does begin, it is not unusual for those creatures who have not changed, to reject it, and squash it before it gains a foothold in the environment, thus maintaining the status quo. In corporate environments that change has to be nurtured, supported and in many cases, valiantly protected.
As for my back yard, the question remains: What was the sudden change that caused this creature to leave evidence of its own rapid evolution?
You can decide for yourself based on the evidence that I have provided, however, a better question that you "otter" consider is what will your own evolution look like, and what direction will it take you?