Posted by: Jeremy Fox | September 22, 2011

Ecologist jokes

Anyone know any good ecologist jokes?

Theoretical ecologist and demographer Joel Cohen once published a book of science jokes, Absolute Zero Gravity. He tells a couple of jokes from the book, including one involving an ecologist, in this video (warning: a little NSFW) (second warning: his delivery needs work).

The only decent ecologist joke I know is actually a pretty well-known joke about economists, but I decided it still worked if you substituted “theoretical ecologist” for “economist”. Here it is:

A physicist, a chemist, and a theoretical ecologist are stranded on a desert island. All they have to eat is 100 cans of tuna. Unfortunately, they don’t have anything to open the cans with.

The physicist says, “Let me handle this.” So he gathers some bamboo and some vines and builds a catapult to loft the cans onto the rocks and break them open. But it doesn’t work: the cans are dented, but they don’t open.

The chemist says, “You’re going about it all wrong.” So he pulls out pen, paper, and a pocket copy of the periodic table. He writes down a series of chemical reactions and balances the stoichiometry. Then he mixes spit, seawater, crushed bamboo, and sand, and heats them over the fire, thereby making an acid to dissolve the cans. But it doesn’t work: the labels melt, but the cans remain intact.

Frustrated and defeated, the physicist and chemist turn to the theoretical ecologist, who says, “You’re going about it all wrong. Why not just assume the existence of a can opener?”

(crickets chirping)

What? Was it my delivery? Hey, where is everyone going?!

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Responses

  1. Hmm, sorry about the muted response. Does Tim Billo saying “Let’s get the flock out of here” count as an ecologist joke?

    • Hi Greg,

      No, I don’t think “jokes that were once told by people who went on to become ecologists” count as “ecologist jokes.” ;-)

      Note to all readers mystified by Greg’s comment: sorry, but you had to be there.

  2. My thinking was that “flock,” in going above the level of an individual organism, was sort of an ecological word. I could add that, since Tim became an ecologist, he has CONTINUED to make that joke.


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