Amphioxus

(tune: It's a Long Way from Tipperary)

by Sam Hinton

A fish-like thing appeared among the annelids one day.
It hadn't any parapods nor cetae to display.
It hadn't any lungs, nor jaws, nor ventral nervous cord,
But it had a lot of gill slits and it had a notochord.

Chorus:
It's a long way from Amphioxus. It's a long way to us.
It's a long way from Amphioxus to the meanest human cuss.
Well, it's goodbye to fins and gill slits, and welcome, lungs and hair!
It's a long, long way from Amphioxus, but we all came from there.

He wasn't much to look at and he scarce knew how to swim,
And Nereus was very sure he hadn't come from him.
The mollusks wouldn't own it and the arthropods got sore,
So the poor thing had to burrow in the sand along the shore.

(chorus)

He burrowed in the sand before a crab could nip his tail,
And he said "Gill slits and miotomes are all to no avail.
I've grown a metapleural fold and sport an aural hood,
But all these fine new characters don't do me any good."

(chorus)

He sulked awhile down in the sand without a lot of pep,
Then he stiffened up his notochord and said, "I'll beat 'em yet!
Let 'em laugh and show their ignorance. I don't mind their jeers.
Just wait until they see me in hundred million years."

(chorus)

"My notochord shall change into a chain of vertebrae
And as fins my metapleural folds shall agitate the sea.
My tiny ventral nervous cord will be a mighty brain
And the vertebrates shall dominate the animal domain."

(chorus)