- Vol. 06
- Chapter 10
Mister Thomas scratched his head when he came to the project folder belonging to John Mathitis. The assignment had been to bring a photograph to class which related to the evolution of physiology lectures he’d been giving prior to the Easter break.
The expected posing with monkey photos with which he had been inundated, interspersed with a few imaginative comparison of corvine species – crows, choughs, ravens – had dismayed him to frustration.
“I should have excluded monkeys as well as finches,” he muttered beneath his breath, mentally kicking himself for being distracted enough by his own anticipated holiday not to have immediately thought of that.
The photo continued to peer at him through the pig’s eyes. No comparative sub-species was pictured.
Eventually he sighed and waved the boy up to his desk amid a susurration of smart remarks.
He supinated his hands over the 6” by 8” glossy as the boy drew level with his left shoulder as he sat.
“It’s a pig emerging from the sea, sir, just like you said.”
Thomas grunted. Okay, that he could accept.
“So where is the biodiversity aspect of the assignment?”
“I took the photo sir – so I’m the comparative.”
Thomas sighed and leaned back in the chair to hold the boy’s eyes.
“Is there something you’re not telling me about your family?”
John reddened under the tsunami of laughter from his peers.
“No, sir,“ he said, clearing a frog from his throat. “Pigs have similar physiology to humans to such an extent that they are used in many experiments. My dad says they’re the perfect translational research model.”
“They have many qualities in common with humans, from skin to organ placement to how insects respond to them, and diseases. That’s why forensic–"
“Yes, yes,” Thomas interjected, reclaiming the floor. “But they are not related to humans on the evolutionary journey.”
“My Dad says that junk DNA outliers prove they are related, sir.”
Thomas hesitated. He’d heard of pigs being used exactly in the manner described. He’d forgotten that the boy’s father was an expert. He surreptitiously eyed the clock and kept the silence going until the bell rang.
“A discussion for another day, then,” he breezed, shooing the boy out along with the rest. “We explore the junk.”
He tried to make light of it but he was intrigued.