Imprinting

The newspaper tells us about an experiment involving hundreds of thousands of digitally-tracked salmon, which might help us understand why the chinook population is threatened. (hint: dams) I like a good science-helping-nature story as much as anyone, but along the way it told me that salmon are easy to track because they return to the same location where they hatched. We all knew that, right? But it went on to say that they know where this location is because they’re tracking chemical signals from water that flowed over them when they were eggs. So that makes it kind of important to keep the water flowing, obviously. Still, let’s stop for a moment. I don’t recall all that much from when I was an egg. The salmon are way ahead of us on this. But then again, are they? I know that sometimes I feel some spark of recognition when I see something that echoes the scenes of my early days. Does that mean I should return to that location? I should hardly think so.

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