The enlightened fish

Christopher Gooding
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A strange new fish that crawls on two legs instead of swimming has the science world in a flutter. Moreover, the little guy has forward-looking eyes - just like people.
Could this fish be a case of history repeating or an evolutionary echo of our origins according to science? (I said 'science,' you cantankerous creationists).
Here's what we know: the fish is an unknown species of anglerfish and for those of you who didn't know the anglerfish is a jerk. He has big teeth and is mean to all the other fish smaller than him. Incidentally, the anglerfish is best remembered for having a light hanging out of its forehead used to lure those smaller fish it intends on bullying or eating. Unlike other anglerfish, though, this new crawling critter has no dangly bulb hanging from its forehead.
Could this be a clue to our own evolution? Did we once have an appendage hanging from our skulls that lit up when we were hungry?
Ho, ho. That would be awesome
More spectacular, though, is the secular notions we once had light bulbs hanging from our faces. Many cultures talk of a third-eye, a metaphysical window into our soul or the centre of our consciousness that sometimes through meditation can be focused. If we turn to the ancients it seems only logical we've descended in part from the anglerfish.
From the Book of Matthew: "The eye is the lamp of the body. If your eye is sound, your whole body will be full of light."
Buddhists, yogis and Hindus also talk of a third eye, which connects us to enlightenment. Well, except the followers of Shiva -- they believe the third eye will lead to the destruction of the universe (and we all know how much of a bummer those Shiva followers can be sometimes).
Yes sir, the significance of the dangly light from a fish head has not been lost to many cultures and we could say we've been infatuated with explaining why we feel there is something hanging from our foreheads. Western wisdom teachings claim it's an "atrophied inner eye" in our heads linked to the sympathetic nervous system somewhere between the pineal and the pituitary glands. Albeit, not scientific, it sounds pretty smart, huh?
There might be something to this inner eye we hear of and this newly discovered anglerfish could be our evolutionary cousin. If not anything the receding light from its own forehead would explain why we instinctively touch our own when stressed. It would also explain why we give our foreheads a smack when we've done something dumb - we're checking to see if the lights are still on.
The only pitfall to this correlation I still can't shake, though, is the fact the anglerfish is such a jerk.

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  • DAVID
    March 09, 2010 - 09:26

    Reading this column could led one to believe that maybe the author has smacked himself in the head once to often.Ihave concern about the future of the Record if the content of this column is regarded by the author as news of local interst.