So, if you could have any one adaptation possessed by a non-human species (extant or extinct), what would it be and why?
So many choices! Flight would be awesome. Prehensile tail (great for sterile technique, where it always seems like you need x+1 hands where x is how many you have) Ability to change color to blend into your background. Cheetah speed. Photosynthesis. Echolocation (this would let you answer a famous question posed by philosopher Thomas Nagel). Ability to reproduce clones of yourself. Gecko toe pads. But if forced to choose, I’d go for the ability to go dormant and then revive many years later. I’d be my own time machine! Well, either that, or the ability to flare my neck ribs when threatened or challenged.
Conversely, there are plenty of adaptations I wouldn’t want to have. I have no desire for the ability to dig like a mole. Having to lek in order to attract a mate seems like it would be really awkward and embarrassing. Come to think of it, I wouldn’t want to be able to photosynthesize, since I like to eat food. But as a new(ish) dad, I think semelparity would be the worst–you wouldn’t get to watch your kids grow up!
And what would be the lamest adaptation to have? I mean, I don’t want to photosynthesize or dig like a mole, but I can appreciate that those are remarkable adaptations. But are there any adaptations you wouldn’t want because they’d be totally lame? I can think of at least one: the ability to play dead like a hognose snake. When challenged, you fall on your back, stick your tongue out, and writhe? What are you hoping–that your enemies will die from laughter? That they’ll take mercy on you because you’re so pathetic? Lame, lame, lame, lame, lame!
So, what would be the best adaptation to have? The worst? The lamest?