I keep chickens. This morning, while eating kindly-provided eggs, I thought about our feathered friends, and their not-too-distant relatives, the dinosaurs. They say that a modern chicken shares 80% of its DNA with the pre-historic T-Rex. A small, incremental change through each generation produced a seismic shift: from killer carnivore to clucking creature.
While tucking in to my tastefully-seasoned yolk, my dino-daydream was interrupted by a message on my mobile: one of the younger generation – a chick by comparison – speaking nostalgically about ‘throwbacks’. This confused me at first: back in my day, a ‘throwback’ didn’t necessarily mean something positive, just something from an earlier period. Perhaps, at that moment, I got a glimpse of how the T-Rex might feel about the chicken.
Is the language I grew up with slowly going extinct? When I open my mouth, do linguistic pterodactyls fly out? This worried me for a moment, but then I remembered: seismic shifts are often just made of many small, incremental changes. Dinosaurs still live among us: they just cluck a little more than they used to.