to: Gaia 4736
from: Biological Statistics & Intelligence
re: Galapagos reclamation project
Attached is our report on the reproductive cycle of the resident homo sapien variant, homo plunderus. Unfortunately, we were unable to assemble a similar body of data on the other, more common, migratory variant, homo vulgaris. During the last recording period an estimated 42,000 vulgaris were sighted in the Galapagos but that figure cannot be guaranteed because we were unable to devise a permanent method of marking individuals in order to track their movements. Vulgaris, like the plunderus and rattus rattus (another feral resident), are highly adaptable.
During this same period our research disclosed no vulgaris births, only six deaths, very few hatchlings and juveniles at percentages too low to continue the species. We conclude that their nesting grounds must be outside of our survey range
Despite this paucity of data we were, however, able to identify some aspects of the vulgaris courtship phase. Almost all members of this subspecies wear around their necks a large pendent composed of one or two cylindrical, metal tubes fitted with sparking glass on both ends and bear what we assume are flock names such as Canon, Leica, Nikon
The single tubes are usually attached to small metal boxes but the double are only attached to each other. Periodically the vulgaris become excited and hold these tubes to their eyes and look through them generally resting upon a member of their opposite sex. They then hold very still for a number of seconds before letting the tubes fall back to their chests.
The number of individuals who held single tubes rather than doubles was approximately 5 to 1. Thirteen percent of any given population wore both single and double pendants, occasionally more. Double tubes were almost always pointed at something in a distance. Only single tubes are generally pointed at a member of the opposite sex. This indicates that two tubes are a training phase and once sufficient proficiency has been achieved the trainee advances to a single tube.
The use of these metal tubes to attract a mate is only rarely observed among the plunderus variant so we must consider it a defining characteristic of the homo vulgaris. The evolutionary advantage of this courtship behavior remains unclear.
Though it has been reported by several nest mothers that many birds including pelicans have been the object of both one-tube and two-tube encounters there have been no reports of either homo vulgaris or plunderus members attempting to crossbreed.
Further insight into the mating patterns of the homo vulgaris might be available from CDR. Four-Rock-Solid, Continental United Pelican.
— Capt. Two-Spot, Brown Division
“A Man Perceived by a Flea” painted by Steven Campbell in 1985
Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh, Scotland,UK