Humanist Perspectives: issue 154: Evolution of Genus Vehiculus (the car fish)

Evolution of Genus Vehiculus (the car fish)
by Lapin de Bois

There has recently been an explosion in the number and variety of fish inhabiting the bumpers of North America’s cars. In this note, we will briefly sketch the evolutionary relationships between known species, and note some of the puzzles and controversies surrounding them.

various species in the window of Zydeco Gift, available to order online from

V. pisces

pisces fish

The common ancestor of all members of the genus, pisces has undergone little change through its history. No other species are known to have branched off from this line until very recently.

V. ixoye

ixoye fish

The first offshoot of the original line, this species presents an evolutionary puzzle. It seems highly unlikely that markings resembling a perfectly-formed greek word (and an appropriate one at that) could be the result of a simple mutation; but neither is it it clear how they could evolve gradually. After all, of what use is half an ‘I’?

V. darwinus

ixoye fish

The rapid proliferation of species begins shortly after that appearance of V. darwinus, and it is generally accepted that competition between darwinus and ixoye were the proximate cause. This species presents an even greater puzzle in that ixoye has rapidly acquired not only well-formed text markings, but articulated appendages as well. Proponents of Intelligent Design have claimed that this species was intended to ‘look designed,’ and have even speculated that the left flank of the creature (oddly, never observed) may actually read ‘up yours.’

V. verum

verum fish

The first predator in the genus appears soon after V. darwinus. It appears to feed exclusively upon Darwinus. It may be that Darwinus provides some nutrient that this species requires which is not found in other species.

V. dentis

dentis fish

Apparently an offshoot of V. verum that has gained the ability to subsist on the more plentiful V. pisces.

V. selachus

selachus fish

The first of a number of shark-like predators, V. selachus lacks the puzzling text-like markings of earlier predators, suggesting that it is a direct descendant of V. pisces. Interestingly, the markings soon appear in the various descendants of selachus, such as the Surfer, Lawyer, Cybershark, Cardshark, Diver, Golfer and Linux sharks.

V. lutus

lutus fish

With the development of predators, we begin to see the evolution of defensive mechanisms. The markings on V. lutus, for example, warn that it has an unbearable taste. Some less successful examples of this strategy are the Gefilte, Tuna, Sushi, Nchips and Dinner fish.

V. dominus

dominus fish

The ID camp got a major boost with the appearance of V. dominus, claiming that not only is it clearly an example of design, but the designer makes it clear exactly who He is. However, the subsequent appearance of the Pagan, Hindu, Buddha, Hey Zeus, Satan, Devil, Diablo and Cthulu fish have once again clouded the picture somewhat.

V. alienus

alienus fish

The explosion of new species in this genus shows no sign of slowing. Besides alienus, there are Angel, Angler, Bite Me, crucifix-eyed, dead, Blow Me, Cat, Dog, Freud (don’t ask), Hooked on Fishn, Mars, Prozak, Sinner, Evolve, ixnay, Science, Scuba, wifi and most recently…

Bush fish

…reminding us once again that evolution doesn’t always mean progress.

Lapin de Bois is a mathematician who lives in Calgary, Alberta.

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