Take A Bow, Humans….You Have A Super Power


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A Facebook image has come through from an old work colleague who is far away, but has kept in touch to share pictures of her new-born baby. I am delighted to see the pictures, and as Mum is a professional photographer, I expect we’ll be given an insight into the life of the family for many years to come.

The most miraculous part of the image is how much of the mother and father we can see in the photo. It’s a baby face but those who have seen the parents see them again in a new blend.

Now for decades we have been told how marvellous it is for animals to be able to recognise their offspring in a herd – the camels, penguins, and whatever who are able to claim their hatchlings in spite of all the rest. We are told that they do it on smell, or instinct ( in-stink? ), or some other mumbo-jumbo and asked to marvel at abilities that far outstrip those of humans. Well, I can tell you that’s a crock…people can do it too, and with as much precision as any other mammal.

Leaving aside the members of the animal kingdom that lay eggs and run for it – not a bad stratagem as it turns out…we are amongst the organisms that are expected to own up to our own. It is a social norm that we do not abandon them in K-Mart and that we will be present for at least one school concert. It might be stretching things a little to ask us to put up major bail money, but I know people who have. And a rotten investment it proved, in a few cases…

Well, away from that, I want to point out to anyone who wishes to credit the rest of creation with more than they are willing to assign to humanity, that people can do it too. We see the face of a new-born baby and can see the faces of not only the parents, but a whole raft of relatives as well. We see Uncle Margery and Aunt Fred. We see grandparents long dead and dust. And we do it on a topography that is as undistinguished as a lump pf Pillsbury dough. The features we descry are nothing more than a millimetre of shadow on a bland surface…and yet we can be as accurate in genealogy as if we were working with a million points of measurement and a Kray computer.

If that is not a super-power, I don’t know what is. Go Humanity. We may not know what we are doing, but we can tell whose kid it is…

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