Today is the day (February 12, which has already begun in the great time factories of Greenwich that supply chronology to the rest of the world) when Charles Darwin comes down the chimney and leaves treats for a certain number of healthy and well-developed little boys and girls, leaving the less fit children to starve miserably.


  1. RepubAnon says:

    What does he leave the beagles?

  2. Clay Potts says:

    Looks like the top of this naked ape’s head evolved faster than his cheeks and chin…

  3. Joseph Moore says:

    Now, now, to be fair: the less fit are much more likely to be disemboweled alive by some predator or die of disease than to live long enough to starve.

  4. Captain DaFt says:

    He doesn’t look happy in that picture…

  5. Dear Dr. Boli,
    Why do older black and white portraits show people so dour? Even the Mona Lisa’s smile doesn’t show any teeth. Isn’t it their duty to show us their toothy grins to prove to their descendants how happy they were?

    Confused in Carrick

  6. markm says:

    1. The subject of the portrait was straining to stay still. Early photographs required exposure times of several minutes, during which the subject had to be absolutely still – even breathing had to be shallow. Paintings and sketches allowed a little bit of movement, but took much longer. At a minimum, it took about half an hour for an artist to sketch your face in charcoal, but La Gioconda probably had to return to the same pose for several days, holding it for hours each day. It gets hard to maintain a smile through that.

    2. Life _was_ more serious in those days. Nowadays a young child’s death is a terrible tragedy; in 1878, they called it “Wednesday”. Darwin did pretty well in the natural selection department: 7 children survived, but he buried three of his children. Doctors could identify hundreds of deadly infectious diseases, prevent one (smallpox), and cure none. And in nearly every country, the majority of the population lived on the edge of starvation – a disabling accident at work did not mean you got workman’s comp, but rather that your family got to re-enact the bad parts of a Dickens novel.

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