Science has some good news for all us Ugly Ducklings – the bottom line is that we’re not as far from perfection as we may think.
Beautiful Swans may be lithe, slim and ballet graceful, but it turns out it’s the ones with the big butts that survive.
The Wildfowl and Wetlands Trust, a conservation organization, has been studying the behinds of black-beaked swans that winter in the United Kingdom and summer in Arctic Russia. LiveScience reports that what they’re finding out is that the runway models of the feathered stuff fairy tales just didn’t pack enough junk in the trunk to tackle the trip.
Oh sure, the skinny ducks might sizzle the pages of all the issues of Feathered Vogue, ELLE Curve Neck and Cosmoswanitan, but it’s the babe with the baggage who’s going to arrive to get the big-butted guy.
Nature is very clear on this point: It’s survival of the fattest.
Still, I know that even with the scientific evidence, there are salad bar dwellers who will continue to shake whatever they can off their booties. Well, park it, sister, because science has good news for you, too.
Researchers studying the rears of rams isolated the gene that causes big-bottomed sheep. Now they are on a quest to solve the genetic disorder that predestines some of us to waddle around like oversized end zones.
Well, not you personally. It’s too late for us. We’re stuck with the Beautiful Swan Butts we brought into this world and with which we shall waddle out. But our grandchildren might be able to plop their bottoms down with a genetic menu and order either the ram butt or the swan butt.
And then those ungrateful brats with the perfectly engineered body parts will flicker through the family video albums and yell, “Wow! It looks like Grandma’s smuggling a couple dancing hogs under there! Oops, I think one just slapped the other into a headlock!”
It would help if science could develop a time machine.
At the moment, all science can give us is the rearview mirror and that offers very little comfort. We’ve gotten used to the bulging duffle spilling over our belts because we can see that.
(It should be noted that those hefty stomachs most likely are entirely the fault of fat ancestors strafing us with overweight genes and have absolutely nothing to do with excessive trips through the drive-through window.)
It may not be pretty and it won’t help swans fly, even black swans, but we can be up-front about the upfront facts.
But I caught sight of myself in a security monitor where the camera was over my shoulder and it startled me. It’s not a view I’m used to seeing. I don’t remember having called in that many reinforcements to fortify the rear guard. But a considerable amount of screen space was filled with the evidence.
It took scientists 10 years to pin down the fact that wide-loaded sheep shared a breakdown of a gene called callipyge, which is Greek for – get ready – “beautiful buttocks.”
Normally, this gene shuts down fat cells and turns energy into muscle. When it doesn’t work, airlines attendants take one look at Mr. Ram and make him buy two tickets to fly. Or you get us, the supposed Ugly Ducklings able to sit on a stool for hours on end with minimal discomfort.
But now we know the liberating truth – we’re not Ugly Ducklings. We’re really just well-graced, Beautiful Swans who had the foresight to load enough ballast in the aft compartment to get to where we’re going. We shall survive with the fattest.