Short Evolution

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Evolution is constantly working and can be found all around us. Now widespread across the globe, a unique species had humble beginnings and struggled to climb to its current spot at the top of the food chain. Science has uncovered the reasons behind the unlikely rise of these half-size wonders allowing us to see evolution in progress. This is the rise of shorts.

Before shorts, pants dominated the globe. Although they have similar physiology, shorts and pants actually come from two very different lines of evolution. To understand the path of shorts though, we first must look at how pants shaped the earth, setting the stage for their eventual demise.

The struggle for territory and food forced pants to specialize by focusing on specific diets, and like Darwin’s finches, pants flourished with variety. Pleated pants took to the hilly rolls of overweight men, their folds expanding and contracting to swallow their prey whole. Meanwhile, Dockers moved

into areas populated by fathers, finding their safety in numbers.

The most successful of the pant species is this, the blue jean. Worn across the classes, jeans have managed to adapt to a variety of life styles. This adaptability comes from their origins as work pants.   

Made from rugged denim, the blue jean is able to take on a variety of colors and cuts, and even substantial physical damage. Living in highly organized social structures, a jean’s status can often be determined by these factors. Below, a family of jeans warms themselves in the sun.

This was the peak of pants and their time was coming to a close. The earth was warming and areas once rich in pant wearing were becoming inhabitable. The high levels of specialization meant that most pants were unable to adapt to this new world, leaving only remnants of once great herds. Fossil records reveal early attempts at integration of pants into this new world: jeans found within herds of tank tops, pants developing zippers at the knees, and other strange varieties. A new species was soon to be at the top.

We see in fossil records that aquatic leg coverings made the jump from water to land shortly before the great extinction. To the right, you can see early aquatic shorts before they lost their upper sections as shirts took over those territories. A sudden explosion of incredible diversity appeared in shorts; jogging shorts allow men to attract a mate by revealing his testicles, cargo shorts developed unique pockets, purposes for which have yet to be discovered, and full, floor-length shorts were worn by juggalos and cholos everywhere. And here we get to something really interesting.
Shorts have come full circle evolutionarily to compete with pants as the dominant ankle warmers in today’s world. As the climate continues to change, it’s likely that the larger species of pants and shorts will die off however, opening up new territories for new sorts of shorts. 

It’s hard to say how time and fashionable selection will continue to shape shorts. Some scientists speculate that the continued warming of

the earth may even push most kinds of shorts over the edge of extinction. This could lead to the resurgence of a super-specialized form of pants, the hot-pant, to reclaim the position of apex predator. Even
more extreme, underpants may take the position of outwear of choice. Elements of this can already be seen in the recent growth of women wearing leggings as pants.

Regardless of the course nature takes, its impossible not to marvel at the ingenuity and variety of shorts.

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