You are on page 1of 4

The Monograph

Calvin & Amar


The Monograph -Sample- B

What do you want to be when you grow up?


By Amar El-Khatib 1T3

plain it. All I can say is and what other people thought of me did
that I was one weird not matter. Even though my career choice
kid. may have been ridiculous at the time,
looking back, I think that it signifies a
Scientist –There was point of maturation in my life where I was
some progress, as my able to back up my decisions with sound
next career choice in- philosophical arguments (or not so sound
volved an actual career, arguments)
a “Scientist”. Now I
know what you’re think- Astronomer – This is a career considera-
ing, a Scientist is highly tion based on a romanticized notion of
non-specific, it can be Astronomy. I had another one of those
practically anything. generic children’s encyclopedias titled
That might be true, but “Space”. The book gave a general de-
as a 7 year old, I loved scription of all 9 planets (now 8), the sun,
reading children’s encyclopedias, one’s and space phenomena like supernovas.
What do you want to be when you grow with titles like “Birds” or “Insects” or There were plenty of artist renditions to
up? As children, we’ve all been asked that “Volcanoes”. I also knew that I liked find- go along with the text, and those pictures
question tons of times, and chances are, if ing out how stuff worked, and the best are what captured my imagination. I used
you’re anything like me, you had just as way for me to express that was to say to read the text then stare at the picture
many answers. Before writing this piece, I that I wanted to be a scientist. for minutes, wandering what it would be
sat down and tried to think of some of the like to watch a supernova in real life.
different careers that I considered, and the Garbage Collector – According to my
reasoning behind each career considera- parents, this is the point where I took After looking back at some of the quirky
tion. For your entertainment, here are four two steps backwards. A garbage man careers that I had considered, I realized
careers that I considered as a child before may have seemed like a lowly job to that they are more than childhood fanta-
choosing pharmacy: them, but I had a great philosophical sies. These career choices were born out
argument behind this choice. I liked to of a passion for science, reading and
Baby – I was 6 years old when I decided argue that happiness is the most impor- general curiosity about how the world
that I wanted to make career out of being a tant thing in life, and the best way for me worked. I urge everyone to do the same,
baby, yes a baby! This might be perplexing to defend that argument, was to tell peo- think about your childhood career
to some, as this isn’t even career but a ple that I want to be a garbage man be- choices and how they relate to your cur-
developmental stage. I have no way to ex- cause collecting trash made me happy, rent profession.

Rants, Raves and Confessions


Last night, I was walking on one Why is the washroom on the to wake up early and make it I once took a 20 minute de-
end of the sidewalk when this second floor hidden in room to class on time because it is tour to avoid running into my
lady from the other end of the 201 next to the computers, too important to miss. The next 5th grade teacher in my
same sidewalk ran towards me just a thought. morning, I wake up wearily and neighborhood.
while yelling "This is what you convince myself that today’s
Calvin, 1T3
get for getting in my way", need- Calvin, 1T3 class isn’t really important. I
less to say, I ran like a little girl. then go back to bed. if you have any rants, raves or
confessions you’d like to share,
Before I go to bed every night,
please send them to sam-
Calvin, 1T3 I convince myself that I have Amar, 1T3 ple@gmail.com
GEMS FROM THE FOSSIL RECORD
By Amar El-Khatib 1T3

Elephants are fantastic animals with a yet equally large heads that had longer The geographic separation of the Asian
lips and snout to compensate for their and African elephants eventually resulted
host of defining features that are the prod-
smaller size mandibles were favored. in allopatric speciation. African and Asian
uct of millions of years of evolution. All
The elongated lips and snout were highly elephants have diverged long enough
three extant species of elephants are
maneuverable, and were increasingly that they can be discerned by the tips of
known for their gigantic size, floppy ears
used as probes that reached high tree their trunk. An Asian elephant has one
and gentle nature, but what sets them apart
branches. Moreover, there was a selec- projection on the tip of its trunk that can
from almost all other species is their long,
tive pressure that acted in utero, favor- be curled around objects to improved
prehensile trunk. Formed by the amalgama-
ing the fusion of the upper lip with the grappling. An African elephant, on the
tion of the upper lip and nose through mil-
snout. Fossil records show that the trunk other hand, has two projections that are
lions of years of selection, the trunk is now
size of proboscidean ancestors that lived used to grip objects by pinching them.
used by its bearer for a multitude of tasks
seven million years ago is comparable in Even though the trunks of African and
ranging from the mundane to the extraordi-
size to modern day elephants. Asian elephants are homologous, each
nary. For example, elephants use their
There are several other selective pres- elephant has adapted to its own environ-
trunk to pick leaves from tree branches, as
sures that favor longer trunks. Elephants ment and their trunks perform similar
well as detect and track scents left behind
use their trunk to detect hormones left functions using slightly different tech-
by other animals; both tasks induce a selec-
by potential mates and those with a bet- niques.
tive pressure that favors longer trunks, yet,
ter chance of detecting these hormones Through the examination of
there are subtle differences between the
have higher mating success. However, early proboscidean fossil records, scien-
trunks of the three extant species of ele-
these chemical signals are not conven- tists were able to make simple predic-
phants.
iently placed for elephants to detect; tions on how the elephant’s trunk
The evolutionary history of the trunk can be
instead, chemical messages are usually evolved and continues to evolve by
traced back to the elephant’s early ances-
airborne, requiring an elephant to probe means of natural selection.
tors from the order known as proboscidea.
Fossil evidence of early proboscideans the air around it to detect a signal.
shows that there was a gradual increase in Hence, elephants with longer trunks can
body size that began around fifty millions probe larger
years, a trend predicted by Cope’s Law. areas with
Selection favored those that can reach more ease
higher leaves, which meant that larger indi- and have a
viduals had higher fitness. However, larger b e t t e r
individuals also had larger heads that were chance of
heavier and further off the ground, this mating.
meant that their heads were constantly T h e
drooping and they had to invest more en- order of pro-
ergy in lifting their heads to reach higher boscidea
leaves. In other words, there was a trade-off contains a
between body size and head weight, where single family
an increase in body size increased fitness, that splits
but an increase in head weight decreased into three
fitness. In addition, there is a strong posi- species, two
tive correlation between head size and African ele-
head weight. phants and
Natural selection provided a novel solution an Asian
to this problem: elephants with smaller jaws elephant.