What do you feel by watching the short video below, extracted from the documentary Life, produced by BBC? It features the exact moment when some gosling is struggling to take the first steps toward its survival in a new world.


1. I feel baffled

By following which logic, the gosling parents have decided to settle their nest in such a harsh environment? Why at this edge? The speaker gives us a reason quite reasonable: he said that the parents are trying to avoid their broods of being caught by predators on the ground. Yes, I can perfectly understand that. But, while there is now a price to pay, nature seems to show its cards: if by chance, at least one gosling survive, there had been a positive balance. Besides, nature counts on a large number of individuals. Even if this couple hasn’t managed to get through this particular challenge, no problem: another couple could be doing its job at the same moment, or this same couple could be luckier next time it tries to generate offsprings. No having not to eat and getting hungry, they have not choice but get down there.

2. I feel inspired

This one is probably the most human reaction, based on our tendency to romanticize nature, to think that it is ‘doing’ that because only the strongest individual must survive. Considering that there are two full-ground individuals now able to reproduce in this documentary, this could be good evidence that nature ‘is’ right. Drawing on this line of reasoning, many ‘social evolutionists’ believes that, similarly to what occurs in the wild nature, where only the individuals more able to fit the changing conditions of the environment can have a chance of surviving, the same will also happen with humans. As a result, only the ‘best’ individual can ‘survive’ in a high competitive organization, for instance (leaving out culture-driven factors as political maneuvers, although an ‘evolutionist’ certainly will think this ‘political ability’ is a further evidence signaling a best-fitted individual).

3. I feel helpless

However, what this short survival scene demonstrates is: firstly, a strong connection between behavior and previous experiences, probably something enclosed in the gene of these animals (another individual in the past had done the same thing and passed the experience on). Secondly, the action of natural forces. It seems that these little birds have an adapted body – for instance, they need manage to jump in a frontal position – if I have understood the speaker’s explanation correctly. Otherwise, if they fall backward, as it turned to happen with the fourth gosling, who slipped and plummeted down headfirst, then their chances of surviving are smaller. If the collision is belly-first, they should survive the fall – despite the astonishing hits against the rock they must suffer while falling. Even if they succeed in reaching the ground in the proper way, there is still the risk of getting lost in the crevices. Unfortunately, the parents can’t spend time looking for each lost goling. And that is the amazing thing, and the helpless one as well: each of these little animals has no second chance: one simply slip is enough to lead the individual to death. It can’t turn back and jump again. As human beings, we usually learn with your mistakes, but this is not possible to this creatures. Nature seems not care about the question: How worthy is a single life? And life is possible only if they overcome all the odds. Life is accuracy, notably at the species level.