There is something seriously wrong with camels.. (and salmon)

For some time now I have been wondering how certain species managed to not become extinct when some of their "features" or ways of existing are so clearly sub-optimal. Earth in general is not a very hospitable place with something on the order of 95% of all species that ever existed being extinct by now. So how is it then that camels or salmon have managed to avoid that fate given some obvious, what should be fatal, flaws?

Take camels for example. Yes, I know about their humps storing water or whatever that allows them to go a long time without food and water and all that. Seems like a useful evolutionary adaptation but you don't have to be a mechanical engineer to take one look at a camel walking or God forbid running to see that there is clearly something wrong with that basic design.

If you tried to on purpose come up with a "design" of a quadruped animal that is maximally inefficient you would just about draw a camel. There is nothing graceful,fast or effortless in how that body moves through space (unlike a cheetah or even an elephant). And having ridden one once, I have a first hand appreciation of how the overall movement just seems haphazard.

But that imperfection pales in comparison to what is a reproductive process almost asking to fail with salmon. It is so inefficient and difficult that it is very hard to "reverse engineer" which provides the storyline for a great book "Salmon fishing in the Yemen".

There is really no reason one can divine why salmon should be born in freshwater, go into the sea and then return some years later to their native stream to reproduce. Furthermore, all salmon die after only reproducing once. The lengths to which they go to return to their native streams, which are for all practical purposes the same as any nearby streams or even bodies of water very far away, are monumental.

It is these examples that make me wonder about evolution more than the "successes" and examples where things make sense.


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