What Do Cockroaches, King Kong, and Rick Perry Have in Common?

12/09/2011 04:27 pm ET | Updated Feb 08, 2012
  • Max Lugavere Director of upcoming documentary "Bread Head", TV personality.

A recent Rick Perry campaign video was so skewed in its ideology that it got me thinking about one of my favorite topics: evolution. Specifically, a concept called island gigantism. Island gigantism is a biological phenomenon in which the physical size of animals isolated on an island increases dramatically over generations in comparison to their mainland relatives. The Komodo dragon, Madagascar's giant hissing cockroach, tortoises of the Galápagos, and King Kong are all perfect examples. Cara Santa Maria, Huffington Post's science expert, sheds some light:

Cut off from the mainland, island animals generally coexist with less species and less competition for resources. Because of their relative isolation, selection pressures differ than those witnessed on large land masses. Biogeographers continue to ask questions about why creatures on islands tend towards gigantism (or dwarfism) within a relatively small evolutionary time span, but it appears to offer some selective advantage.

Can it be said, then, that as the Republican base shrinks and becomes increasingly "cut off" from the mainland, it risks becoming a sort-of political "Skull Island," where ideology -- however extreme and unfit for real-world assimilation -- can continue to grow unchecked? And if so, is this cause for real concern? Or, like the habitats in which such biological oddities seem to thrive, are these ideas safe simply in their increasing distance from objective reality; their moral alienation nothing more than an occasional source of shock entertainment for the enlightened? Is this very idea a Peter Jackson political sci-fi summer blockbuster-in-the-making?


I'd totally see that.

In any case, the speed at which information travels these days, combined with the plurality of voices that can often make the Internet so great, provides a fairly Darwinian playing field on which such ideas can compete, and as of this writing, Perry's video is losing 46:1. Isn't science wonderful?