Hello folks who wonder if these days the weird people on the train are the only ones NOT checking their phones,

Some questions keep us up at night especially when one has to wake up early the following morning. Some of these questions might range from "Why did Kim K. and Kanye West break up?" to "Will Britney Spears ever run for President" to "What if I accidentally post pictures on Instagram without a filter? " to "Why did humans domesticate dogs?".

Now, let's answer the last question about "Why did humans domesticate dogs?". You see, our ancestors back then had the foresight to predict modern human wants. They knew present day humans would need dogs to:

  • Carry around on a baby stroller.
  • Lick their faces after the dog has licked its butt even though those same humans will use their shoes to kick the cross buttons at traffic lights to be hygienic.
  • Tell everyone they are proud biological parents to multiple dogs.
  • Milk them for Instagram and Facebook likes.
  • Help to guard their homes when humans are fast asleep or away from their homes.


Having someone to be on the lookout for danger when you are at your most vulnerable is key to survival. Take the example of you dining indoors at a restaurant with a friend. While you are wolfing down your food, and not looking around, your friend notices someone walking past you. But that person is not wearing a mask (OH NO!). So, the friend quickly notifies you of the danger, and you close your mouth and stop breathing for precisely 10 seconds after the person leaves to make sure you did not get infected. That quick thinking from your friend just saved your life today and you return the favor by being on the lookout when it is your friend's turn to eat.

The state bird of California a.k.a. the California Quail does something similar. You see, these quails spend most of their time scratching the ground looking for seeds and invertebrates. This makes them especially vulnerable from a raptor flying overhead or a bobcat stalking from a distance.


While all of them have their heads down, one member of this group will act like a lookout. This member, often a male quail (i.e., the one who uses the he/him pronouns in email signatures) will be perched on an elevated location to get a better view of the eager predators. Yes, you guessed it right, the one responsible for being the lookout does not get to use their phones while on the job.


And while the lookout quail is doing its job and not playing Candy Crush, the others can spend more time searching for food instead of being paranoid.


And once the predator (or a curious naturalist) gets a little too close for comfort, the lookout quail raises the alarm which makes the rest of the group run to safety. "Hey! that was a fire drill" for people who looked at me with scorn for disturbing this group.


Both males and females have a head plume that looks like a single black colored comma shaped feather. It is more pronounced on the males than on the females. See if you can determine which is which in the shot below.


That head plume is actually not a single comma shaped feather but several overlapping comma shaped feathers.

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