Hey Julia, what are you going to do with your biology minor?

Me:

An evolutionary history of
household objects

An evolutionary history of kitchen appliances.jpg

Kitchen

Dishwasher

Dishwashers are amphibians and evolved to live both on land and in the water. Before humans made them clean their dishes, they used to spend their days giving baths to fish, frogs, and many other aquatic animals. At night, packs of dishwashers would migrate to the land where they slept in dishwasher families and ate a bunch of soap to get ready to scrub their little fishy friends the next day! ☺ 

 

Refrigerator

Refrigerators came from Russia. Have you ever wondered why everyone you know has a refrigerator? Because communism. But before the communists gave everyone a refrigerator, they lived many years undisturbed in Northern Russia where they lived in hunter gatherer tribes (what an advantage to be able to store your food after you’ve hunted and gathered it!). 

 

Microwave

Microwaves came from outer space. No earth-dwelling object would have evolved to make your leftover chicken explode if you heat it up for more than 45 seconds. Thus, microwaves are aliens. A rover found them when it was sampling rocks on a meteor, accidentally brought it back to earth, and now we have a quick way to reheat food and exploding pasta sauce. 

 

Oven

Ovens are the natural incubators of Africa. If an ostrich or a chicken didn’t want to sit on their eggs all day, that’s okay! They just put them in the oven and went on their chicken and ostrich lives. But now that humans have domesticated ovens, these unlucky birds must do their own egg sitting. More time sitting on your eggs means less time working for the family—one of the many negative impacts of colonization. 

 

Toaster

Toasters are native to Brazil and before they toasted bread, their toasting apparatus was an evolutionary mechanism to keep the haters away. Silly little monkeys and toucans would come put their beaks or fingers in the toaster to try to capture it as prey and then ZAP!!!! Their electrical cord is a camouflage mechanism that looks like a snake and scares off many potential predators.

Bathroom

Mirror

Have you ever wondered why you never need to water your mirror? Mirrors evolved in what is now known as Egypt and evolved to need even less water than cacti. Mirror plants are much like a potato plant where they grow beneath the soil. At the end of each growing season, mirror farmers harvest the crude mirrors and lay them in the dessert where they can be polished to create their reflective surfaces in the sandstorms. For centuries, mirrors were banned from most civilizations where they grew because they contained a poison that made people fall in love with themselves. However, modern cultures have dubbed this belief as hearsay, and, for better or for worse, domesticated mirrors have become a ubiquitous household fixture.

 

Bathtub and Shower

In addition to deforestation, in recent decades the Amazon rainforest has become almost entirely devoid of naturally occurring bathtubs and showers. Not only are capybaras and spider monkeys losing their beds in the trees, they are also losing their private bathing stalls.

 
Toilet

Toilet plants are native to freshwater streams in what is now known as Canada. Originally, freshwater toilets had a symbiotic relationship with beavers to flush out beaver waste from their dams. However, tens of thousands of years ago, turtles began eating toilet seeds and propagating them in ponds and on land so that over generations, toilets evolved to live out of water. When European colonizers arrived in the New World, toilets were accidentally brought back to Europe and became an invasive species. While toilets are now ubiquitous in Europe, they have been extremely helpful in avoiding epidemics that spread through human waste such as Cholera.

Bedroom

Dresser

Dressers are native to China and before they were domesticated to hold clothes, they held rice. A little-known fact about China is that when cannonballs were scarce, soldiers would fill dressers with rice and dump drawers full of rice off the great wall of China onto their enemies’ heads. As gun powder and other more efficient weapons of war became widely available, China stopped using dressers and dresser farmers rebranded dressers for household use. While modern artillery was being used in wars, soldiers and their families could now use dressers to hold their clothes and other belongings.

 
Nightstand

Around 700 AD, dressers embarked on their first exploration of the Polynesian Islands and Australia. While dressers were successful in colonizing many of the Polynesian Islands, they were unsuccessful in Australia because they were always being eaten by kangaroos. However, around 1200 AD, a tribe of dressers living in New Guinea incurred a rare mutation that stunted growth and made dresser varnishes produce a toxin that is poisonous to kangaroos. Mutated dressers then colonized parts of Australia and evolved into a new species of dresser which we recognize today as the nightstand.

Living Room

Television

Televisions are a type of fungus. Television spores are everywhere and will spawn in favourable environmental conditions—most commonly people’s living rooms which are warm, dark, and stagnant. Before televisions began reproducing at unprecedented rates in people’s living rooms, they could be found in other warm, dark places where sleepy animals needed to be entertained. The most common places that televisions were historically found are turtle shells and aardvark boroughs.

Office

Chair

Most of us have heard of the three sisters: beans, corn, and squash, however, most of us haven’t heard about the long lost fourth sister: the chair. Like beans, corns, and squash, chairs evolved in Mesoamerica and migrated north over generations. However, due to the practical uses of chairs, they were harvested to extinction and are now only bred for commercial purposes. Like dogs, chairs have been selectively bred to produce many varieties of chair such as the kitchen chair, the recliner, and the common stool. Although there are many different breeds of chairs, they can still crossbreed with one another. For example, breeding recliner with a kitchen chair will produce the traditional desk chair. For those of us with allergies to chairs, kitchen chairs are a hypoallergenic option.

Desk

Desks are not a plant, but rather an invention of penguins living in Antarctica (obviously). Emperor penguins may be one of the most socially incompetent species on the planet—males and females are absolutely terrified of talking to each other. Their social ineptitude has made them the hermits of the bird family that have exiled themselves to the part of the world with the absolute worst living conditions. Although other species can be almost equally shy, this issue has been partially solved by the advent of online dating and the internet. But unfortunately for emperor penguins, Antarctica does not have Wi-Fi or any sort of cell reception. Alas, penguins invented office desks for administrative workers to arrange mates for each penguin. At each branch, individual penguins go into the office, sit at a desk, and fill out a stack of paperwork describing their lifestyle, preferences and then administration will use an algorithm to pair them accordingly.