In the end, Delaney's monkey charmed everybody.
Delaney is nine. For her entry to the contest, she imagined that some monkeys got stranded on an island with a different environment than they were used to. Their new environment had "hard nuts, quiet predators, and purple bushes and trees." What would happen after, say, a million years? How would the monkeys evolve?
Delaney's evolved monkey has sharp teeth (to crack the nuts), huge ears (to hear those quiet predators) and purple polka-dots (to hide in the purple foliage.) Perfect examples of adaptation!
Here's our interview with Delaney:
Kate from Charlie's Playhouse: How did you come up with the idea for your contest entry?I love this part about the finch beaks: "if he thought that was evolution, or if he would have to think about it." Yes, he did have to think about it. He had to think about it FOR TWENTY YEARS. That's a long think.
Delaney: Well, I made up my island first. I thought it could be anything at all. I knew it had to have a different habitat, different food and everything for the monkey. Then I looked at what the island had and saw how the monkey could blend in. I added the adaptations.
Kate: Did you think about using another animal?
Delaney: Yes, I thought about a flamingo or a pig. A flamingo would be hard. It might have changed its legs so it could run faster. A pig would be like a vampire pig because it would get the sharp teeth! But I really liked the monkey. It was easier to adapt because it has a lot of features that are able to be changed.
Kate: How did you learn about evolution?
Delaney: My dad started telling me about it. I got really interested, and I asked questions. When I ask my dad a question, I always get an answer. Also, once after a trip he brought back your Giant Timeline, and I like to look at it. He also tells me what other people say about evolution, like at the dinner table.
Kate: Cool! Last question. If you could travel back in time and visit with Charles Darwin, maybe go to his study and have tea with him, what would you want to talk about? What would you ask him?
Delaney: I would want to ask if he knew he wanted to be a scientist when he was a kid. Did he have the idea as a kid? Also I would ask about all the stuff he saw on his trip: what he saw in the ocean or something flying or what he thought was interesting. What he thought about those birds with the different beaks, and if he thought that was evolution, or if he would have to think about it.
Kate: I wonder if he knew when he was a kid. What about you? Do you know what you want to be?
Delaney: I want to be a paleontologist or archeologist. You get to see the animals of the past, and the fossils are actually their bodies. It's like looking at them alive!