Thursday, October 15, 2009

Say WHAT???!!!

Great Gray Owl
Originally uploaded by Laura Erickson
Okay, so I'm reading my morning email and news feeds (no, I don't plug my laptop into a current bush--but how I get my computer fired up is for me to know and you to find out) when I come across this little tidbit in today's Slate, about the "science" of physiognomy and how humans look at facial features of others to tell how aggressive they are likely to be:
The idea is not far from what William Sheldon proposed in the 1940s. Certain excitable meat-headed mesomorphs, he wrote, were prone to "muscular unreasonableness" and could be "as destructively dangerous in a human setting as a great gray owl in a colony of Snowshoe rabbits." (These, of course, were the Great Gray Owls.) Sheldon suggested not only that mesomorphic men were prone to aggression but that they were more likely to be criminals. So, was he right?

I have no clue whether he was right about humans, but he sure had us Great Gray Owls pegged wrong. Snowshoe hares are HUGE suckers! I and all of my friends are drawn to meadow voles--nice bite-sized, tasty morsels way way WAY tastier than Dove bars or any kind of rabbits or hares. Our large facial disks allow us to hear voles buried in their grassy tunnels, even when those tunnels are themselves buried under a meadow of tall grasses or 18 inches of snow. We're specialists, and we're focused, and no way do those silly physiognomy studies apply to us.

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