Friday, June 29, 2007

Roxopods Day one: afternoon

While most people staying at the Black Rock Lodge would be excited about the indoor/outdoor pool, the free continental breakfast or the mint that is left on their pillow, our team was content to stare at the walls. And stare we did all afternoon waiting to see if one of the boulders moved.

When we needed to give our eyes a rest, we spoke to the hotel staff about the possible existence of the roxopods. None of them hesitated to tell either of their personal encounters or the stories told to them by previous guests of the hotel. One story went so far as to claim that a brother and sister collected an entire bucket of sedimentipedes. However, their mother, thinking it was a bucket of rocks, made them leave it outside their room. In the morning, there was nothing left but an empty bucket.

The origin of the roxopod is not entirely clear but the hotel manager claims they were created by the construction workers who first built the lodge. As the story goes, during their lunch-breaks the workers would ease their boredom by gluing little pebbles to bugs with cement. They would place the bugs on the side of the newly constructed walls and bet on which bug would climb to the top the quickest.

It is not know how the roxopods developed after that. Some suggest that the bugs with the pebbles were stronger and more attractive to other bugs and that natural selection favored more rock-shaped creatures. Others suggest that some rocks of a more organic nature bonded to the bugs and that the story of the bored boulder builders is more fable than fact.

Becky, who has been carefully visually documenting the walls with her camera the entire afternoon, claims she has seen a difference in the rock patterns. However, our eyes are strained from seeking all afternoon and it's starting to get dark. We decided to call off the hunt, grab something to eat, and then head back to the mobile lab where we can better examine Becky's photographs.

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