The term evolution, presented without
modifiers, generally is held to refer to genetic change within a
population. Of course, behaviors can change over time, too.
This includes behaviors that are quite specific and complex.
are mammals with hooves. The classification comprises several
orders. Thus, the term refers to a superorder.
However, the classification scheme has gotten more complex
than it was back when I first studied it. There used to be
two orders, Artiodactyla and Perissodactyla.
The term artiodactyl refers to mammals with an an
even number of toes comprising each hoof; whereas perissodactyl
refers to those with an odd number of toes on each hoof.
To give some perspective on this, I’ll say that I first learned about
this in a high school mammology course, taught by Mr. Bradley at Las
Cruces High. (Mr. Bradley, incidentally, was also my
wrestling coach.) That was in 1974. In the interim,
some upstarts who call themselves cladists
came along and messed everything up. Now, the perissodactyls
have their own order, but artiodactyls are subsumed under the oder
Cetartiodactyla includes the artiodactyls and the cetaceans
(dolphins and whales). Just search ScienceBlogs for Indohyus to get
more information on this complication and the evidence showing why this
Just to complicate matters, it appears that some authors consider Cetartiodactyla
to be a superorder, subsuming orders Artiodactyla
and Cetacea. But I am not here to
negotiate a settlement in the Cladistics Wars. (Those people
are going to have to settle it amongst themselves.) Rather, I
am here to document something else: the cultural evolution that led to
the creation of origami water buffalo (Bubalus bubalis)
from The white rhinoceros (Ceratotherium simum or Diceros
When I first saw these, I thought I was looking at cladograms.
That is what got me thinking along these lines, so to speak,
in case you were curious. The diagrams
are not cladograms; rather, they are
origami folding diagrams. The author shows how he progressed
from the origami rhino to the origami ox.
I encountered a website written by
an origami artist, Joseph Wu. He started with a traditional
origami rhinoceros. His father, having been born in the year
of the Ox, was interested in seeing if it were possible to create an
After seeing the rhinoceros models on July 19, 1998,
my father challenged me to come up with a design for a Chinese
water buffalo. The Chinese people consider large, fat oxen to
be symbols of prosperity, and have included the ox as one of the twelve
animals of the Chinese zodiac. My father was born in the Year of the
Ox, so such a model was of particular interest to him…
…In the final model, I’ve tried to emphasize the animal’s round, fat
belly to make it more appealing to Chinese people. People have
commented on the model’s liveliness, but I would like to give it more
character. Perhaps a different pose would make the buffalo more lively.
As always, the design process can continue on forever if I let it.
However, until inspiration strikes again, I am content to call this
model completed, and I dedicate it to my father.
The photos of the origami creation are copyrighted, so I’ll respect
that and instead direct interested viewers to the artist’s website, here.