There are a lot of deer in the Hudson Valley. They are beautiful to see in the fields and troublesome to see five feet in front of your windshield. I have been in four collisions with deer, the worst of which was an $8000 front-on with one that dropped out of the sky. The policeman who came to my aid asked if I wanted him — the deer that is.
Watch the deer. They appear to be gaining street smarts. Some deer stop at the side of the road. I like to think that they are looking both ways, or maybe they are listening, and if they see or hear, or maybe they feel it in their bodies, that nothing big and fast is coming, they will cross. My theory is that in six generations the deer will evolve to the point that they can live in harmony with automobiles. This may sound ridiculous, but the findings of University of Minnesota biologist, Emilie C. Snell-Rood, reported on in today’s NY Times by Carl Zimmer, back me up.
Dr. Snell-Rood’s research shows that mice, moles, shrews and bats living in areas where humans have changed their environments, cities for example, have larger brains than those in rural areas.
My inspiration came from New Normal, a RadioLab program on evolution, which I chanced on while driving around the deer-rich back roads of Columbia and Dutchess County last year. (I love RadioLab. Thank you Alan Chartock and WAMC.) I’ve also spent time observing my dog Tuck, a mixed breed Border Collie/Shepherd/Akita. Lately he seems to look down the tracks behind the house before we cross them Not Jaxon, Lee’s rolling English lab. He’ll stop to scratch right between the rails. No contest on which bloodline will survive here.
Just making sure my theory gets into print before someone else beats me to it.