Evolution as I learned in Pokémon

Dolly Cupak

Evolution Essay Winner

“Woah! My Caterpie evolved into a Metapod,” exclaims every kid who has ever played Pokémon Yellow.

I still remember my first time witnessing “evolution.” It took me seven level-ups to gain this excitement on my brother’s Game Boy Color at the age of six. The idea of evolution fascinates me to this day.

About to fulfill my second decade of life, I have invested so much time and effort into my love for biology, specifically evolutionary biology. I’ve volunteered in labs and field studies, studied for countless exams and read many peer-reviewed articles for my bio lab reports.

Currently, I am trying to master the arts of “R,” a computer software program filled with codes and tools for ecology and evolution lab data.

Sometimes biological science can be a handful, and I wonder how I got here. My ambitions for becoming an evolutionary biologist may have been lit by an evolving Caterpie in a retro video game, but there is more that has influenced me since.

The world around us is changing drastically, from the temperatures in the oceans to the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere to even ourselves.

With all this change, evolution can’t keep up. Our world is not an electronic fantasy where creatures change in a day to suit their needs. Evolution takes many generations, thousands of years and an abundance of resources.

This has become more evident since the move for sustainability has increased. We may have dug ourselves into a deep, unforgiving ditch with our own evolution, but that doesn’t mean we can’t work together and climb out. Even Charles Darwin said, “To kill an error is as good a service as, and sometimes even better than, the establishing of a new truth or fact.”

This importance of owning up and fixing our errors needs to be brought to the light. This task is what kindles my passion for evolutionary biology.

Evolution is a beautiful thing. It occurs everywhere in our lives. It has been the driving factor that has taken our last unknown common ancestor towards being a fish to a monkey to a hominid and, finally, to ourselves. Heck, it has even turned dinosaurs into birds.

Without evolution, there would be no life, just rocks in outer space. Evolution has brought me to where I am today, and it introduced itself to me through a video game. Who says video games can’t help you in real life?