Classroom Confusion
written by Sugarberry

A murmur of conversation filled the schoolroom as the class prepared for the start of a new day. When Miss Hackney entered the room, the students respectfully quieted down and gave her their full attention.

"Good morning, children!"

"Good morning, Miss Hackney," the chorus of voices chimed brightly.

"I hope every one of you will be on your best behavior today," Miss Hackney smiled across the array of alert faces before her. "I'm happy to announce that we are having a special guest after our first class period.

"Who is it, Miss Hackney?" asked Baby Pineapple eagerly.

"Clever Clover, who has a degree in archaeology and studies ponies and objects of the past, will be bringing some ancient artifacts for you to observe."

"All right!"


"Artifacts? What are artifacts?"

"I expect you to be courteous and alert while Clever Clover is speaking with you," Miss Hackney reminded her students.

"Yes, Miss Hackney."

"Now, before Clever Clover gets here, we are going to discuss evolution," began Miss Hackney as she adjusted her glasses squarely across her nose. "Is anyone here familiar with that word?"

A virtual sea of hooves waved wildly in the air as every pony in the room raised his or her hoof.

"My, what a precocious class you are!" Miss Hackney beamed proudly. "Can anyone tell me what ‘evolution' means?"

Baby Paws immediately stood up by his desk and volunteered. "It's when creatures change and look different."

"Good, Paws," Miss Hackney responded. "Scientifically, it's a theory that some ponies believe explains a change that develops in plants and animals through successive generations.

"Let's take the example of the horse," Miss Hackney continued as she wrote a really big number on the blackboard. "About sixty million years ago, the animal that eventually became what we call a horse was a dog-like creature about the size of a fox. And their feet--" Miss Hackney paused for effect. "--had four toes at the front.

"By thirty-five million years ago--" She inscribed this new number on the blackboard. "--the ancestor of the modern horse had grown bigger, and the toes to the side had regressed. At various other stages down to seven million years ago, the toes were completely gone. So, you see, class--" Miss Hackney pointed to the figures on the board. "--the theory of evolution is based on changes that occur over a vast stretch of time."

This statement of Miss Hackney's caused a titter of laughter to ripple across the room. Baby Bows raised her hoof.

Miss Hackney frowned at the interruption. "What is it, Bows?"

"Evolution happens real quick, like when Ponyta changes into Rapidash. There's just a brilliant flash of light and it changes."

"Ponyta?" Miss Hackney looked confused as she glanced over her notes... Eohippus, Mesohippus, Merychippus, Pliohippus... "There is not Ponyta in the evolution of the horse, Bows. But you are correct in saying that evolution sometimes occurs more suddenly.

"In some instances, a mutation in the genes actually speeds up the course of evolution, but the change still takes a very long time."

"Like Eevee," Baby Whirly Twirl piped-up, "when he's exposed to one of the stones. Only it still happens fast."

"Or maybe mutation explains Psyduck," Baby Gusty giggled.

"Eevee? Psyduck?" questioned Miss Hackney.

"Everybody knows Eevee," Baby Whirly Twirl scoffed.

"Psyduck," Baby Gusty replied, "he always has a headache and he's..."

"Well, I'm sorry he's not feeling well; and there has never been such a creature as an Eevee, but that has nothing to do with our topic now, does it, Whirly Twirl and Gusty?" Miss Hackney dismissed the interruption.

"Now, class, how do you think scientists can learn about animals that lived sixty million years ago?"

"They could drop into a cave through a hole in the ground and end up with prehistoric creatures all around them," ventured Baby Fifi.

"That's imaginative," Miss Hackney smiled stiffly, "and a cave might be a good place to start looking. But you wouldn't find live animals, Fifi. You'd find fossils, which are the remnants or impressions of animals of the past that have been preserved in the earth's crust."

Several hooves flew up simultaneously.

"Yes, Paws?"

"But Ash found living things."

"And they tried to hurt him," offered Baby Gusty, fearfully looking around as if expecting a ferocious denizen of the past to materialize in the classroom.

"Ash wasn't the only one who saw them," Baby Crumpet corrected. "Team Rocket was there, too."

"Children, let's stick to the facts," Miss Hackney reprimanded as the young ponies began to whisper to one another concerning their knowledge of evolution as compared to Miss Hackney's apparent cluelessness of the situation.

Fortunately for all concerned, a rap sounded at the classroom door. Miss Hackney breathed a sigh of relief. "Why, that must be Clever Clover now!" she exclaimed. Moving across the room, she opened the door to admit the purple pony from Friendship Gardens.

"Yo, Miss Hackney," greeted Clever Clover as he tipped his hat to her. He was carrying a satchel bulging with off-shaped parcels.

"Welcome to our school, Clever Clover," responded Miss Hackney. "The children are looking forward to your presentation." She smiled apprehensively. "They have some novel ideas on the topic of evolution."

Clever Clover moved to the center of the room, and dumped the contents of his bag onto Miss Hackney's orderly desk. "Greetings, fillies and colts," he said merrily as he lifted one of the objects off the desk. "Can any of you tell me what this is?" He held up a yellow, ancient-looking bone.

"I know! I know!" bubbled Baby Bows. "It's a monkey's hand!"

"It's an appendage, all right," verified Clever Clover. "But it didn't belong to a monkey."

"Miss Hackney told us horses had toes once," Baby Whirly Twirl theorized, "so I bet it's an early horse foot!"

"Excellent!" praised Clever Clover. "This bone of an early horse called an Eohippus shows us that horses once had toes." He held the bone next to his own hoof. "And see how much smaller it is compared to my limb? That tells us that horses and ponies have gotten bigger over the millions of years that have passed since the Eohippus walked the forests of North America."

"Wait!" declared Baby Crumpet. "Miss Hackney told us in history class that their weren't any horses in North America until the Spanish brought them over from Europe."

"And that's true, to a point," clarified Clever Clover. "The evolution of the horse, however, did occur in North America." He held up a series of artifacts that showed how the early horse's foot gradually lost its toes as merely vestigial digits until it evolved into a solid-hoofed animal, or solidungulate." He wrote that new word on the board.

"Now remember, this took, like, fifty million years to accomplish. That's a long, long, long time." He stretched his hooves farther and farther apart until he nearly toppled backwards.

After recovering his stance, Clever Clover continued. "At this point much of the world was covered in an Ice Age which made it possible for animals to migrate between the continents, so many of these solidungulates crossed into Asia to become the horses, ponies, and zebras we are familiar with. In America, however, the solidungulates died out. So Miss Hackney was right. There weren't any horses in America when the Spaniards arrived. Any questions?"

A number of hooves went up. Clever Clover pointed at a pink filly. "You there. What's your question?"

"You said it takes a long, long time to evolve," Baby Cotton Candy pondered.

"Yeah, and Miss Hackney said so, too," Baby Pineapple added.

"But it doesn't take long at all," declared Baby Whirly Twirl.

"That's right. It just takes enough experience," agreed Baby Paws.

"Or the right stone," stated Baby Fifi.

Clever Clover had listened to this volley of comments in utter confusion until this last statement caused comprehension to hit him like a brick.

"Pokèmon evolution!" he cried. "That's what you foals are talking about." Clever Clover laughed heartily.

"Isn't that what we were learning about today?" questioned Baby Crumpet.

"Not exactly," snickered Clever Clover, still overcome by the mix-up.

Miss Hackney stood at the back of the room wondering where she had lost control of the situation.

Clever Clover grinned at the class. "Pokèmon evolution is somewhat different than the scientific theory of evolution." An idea hit him as he talked, and he felt for the backpack which he always had on him.

"I just happen to have my Pokèmon with me. How about, with Miss Hackney's permission, of course..." He winked across the room at her. "...we move this class outside, and discuss the evolution of Pokèmon with the real participants."

With that said, he proceeded to the door and held it open as the laughing and shouting children passed through, followed by a somewhat skeptical and nervous Miss Hackney.

Once out on the open playground, Clever Clover removed a red and white PokèBall from his backpack, and commanded, "Rattata! I choose you!"

And much to Clever Clover's dismay and the children's delight, Miss Hackney blinked twice, and fainted on the spot.

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