Tuesday, April 06, 2010

Picking up lizards in Costa Rica

One day soon I must catch up on several books that I have read in the past few weeks - but I thought I would offer a few reflections on the experiences of my last few days.

I'm in Costa Rica at Southern Nazarene University's Field Station located in the Cloud Forest. It's actually quite a nice location and much more than a simple "hut" in the forest. There are two full-time directors for the program here and this year, 10 students from two colleges in the U.S. here doing different forms of study and research.

Yesterday I went out with two different students on the trails and around the river that runs through this particular valley. Each of the students is doing study on lizards, though in different capacities. One is doing a study related to how lizards might find their location based on UV light and the other is doing an analysis of the body temperature of lizards with respect to their daily habits of sitting in the sun, etc.

I am not much of a lizard person. Of course, I could say much more impressively that I am not much of a herpetologist! But, I learned much from the students and from the experiences I had on this morning. I think the most "marvelous" thing that I took away from our time together had to do with the agility and dexterity and "speed" of the lizards - and that with respect to their nimble "fingers and toes." (Okay, I admit, I do not know the correct terminology for their "digits" - and my students are not here right now to inform me!) The "fingers and toes" of the 3-6 inch lizards were incredibly small and narrow - tiny in fact. They are thicker than a strand of hair - but thinner than a toothpick - and they are distinctly spindly.

And yet, in side these tiny digits are uniquely crafted bones and muscles that respond to the surges of lizard brain activity that can cause the lizard to accelerate over rocky or tree or brushy debris in its quick "dart" for food or in its rapid retreat from the student's "noose" to catch it.

Amazing animals that are just a small part of the Creators vastly complex and wonderful creation.

A good day.

1 comment:

Sarah Hille said...

Cool to see some of your reflections from the field.