Thursday, November 20, 2008

Hooray for the Woolly Mammoth!

   My former advisor and current co-worker Dr. Y informed me today that researchers at Penn State had fully sequenced the nuclear genome of the woolly mammoth.
   So, we are one significant step forward in actually cloning a woolly mammoth during our lifetime!
I announced this to my biology class today, and they seemed genuinely impressed. They were less impressed, however, when I returned their tests from the previous class period. It had been over three chapters of evolutionary processes, and frankly, they did terrible. I told them I might've made the test a little too hard because it was my favorite section.
I announced that I had a small gift for my two highest scorers in the class, and as I was describing the little crustaceans called "Triops" that I was about to give to the top two students, a boy on the front row exclaimed "Triops!" and started babbling on about how he had some before and that they were really neat, etc. etc. I continued talking to the class, trying to explain to everyone what exactly these little horseshoe crab-looking things were, but I was having a hard time talking over the boy on the front row who continued to speak about his former pet Triops. I turned to look at him, and a boy next to him laughed and said, "Would you stop talking about Triops?" I tossed one of the egg packages towards the babbling boy. "That one's yours," I said, since he had been one of my top scorers. He was quite excited about his present, and I was relieved since these are college-aged students and I wasn't sure how they would react to my choice of gifts for their achievements. (The envelope clearly said "For ages 7 and up.") I passed out the other package to my other top scorer, and I think the rest of the class felt left out. They were unusually quiet and attentive. I shrugged and said the Triops "only cost a few bucks at Hobby Lobby," and someone murmured that it wasn't the same if they had to buy them for themselves.

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