Antecedents fared less well (since Juke was a variation become his own theme), upstaging all fellow players in the Mega-continent’s Cre-volutionary farce: mugging, posturing, pulling focus, smacking outsize lips or gnashing ill-adapted teeth (incisors never rivaled those of bona fide predators), ‘lumbering’ toward the day their spawn would ‘strut.’


Meanwhile, the forgotten pair, those supernumeraries, so to speak, of primate ‘Primogenitry,’ they who wandered off in search of a less vainglorious path, a less aggressive co-existence, a less pernicious approach to meeting their daily needs, accordingly shrank… got littler. Not all at once, naturally; offspring for several generations retained the Juke-line size. But as the concept ‘less’ became ingrained (then adopted as an axiom) those who put it into practice gradually grew diminutive. Which is not to say their gray matter similarly dwindled—at least with respect to aptitude and complexity. Quite the contrary; ‘smarts’ were due to neuro-circuitry, not to skull capacity. Mass, as density, held significance; mass, as bulk, was extraneous—therefore Juke & Ilk were no more ‘on’ or ‘off the ball’ potentially than the couple they saw fit to leave behind. Animal protein no doubt changed the ‘grist’ for mental milling, but the ‘gist’ remained equivalent for meat-eater and vegetarian alike. Not that either camp produced, at this stage, mental giants. Apes, both Great and Lesser, trudged through their existence, knuckles dragging, wits as razor-sharp as barbells for a long, LONG while. Still, development proceeded—at a hamstrung turtle’s clip—as two, of a once-identical species, shuffled toward a showdown.