Friday, October 7, 2011

You animal you....

If you're reading this, and avoid classifying yourself as an animal, then take a look at this.
Now relax, if you were concerned about being animal. The above drawing is apparently inaccurate even though it was widely used in textbooks for many years. The drawing is attributed to Ernst Haeckel who was the proponent of recapitulation theory ("ontogeny recapitulates phylogeny") which claims that an individual organism's biological development, or ontogeny, parallels and summarizes its species' evolutionary development, or phylogeny. It is suggested that he fudged the above drawings to make them more closely support his theory because they aren't quite accurate. I remember being taught the recapitulation notion and thinking it was a really neat idea. Well, neat it is but accurate it isn't.

However, take a look at these illustrations of two human, one pig.
I came across them here, and they are attributed to a medical textbook and are apparently accurate. I am presuming the one on the left is the human but since the author on the website doesn't specify (that I saw) which is which, your guess is as good as mine. If you like these guessing games, here is another one with answers included.

Nature isn't into "neat", nature is primarily interested in results, not how something looks. We are all animals, our ancestors were all subject to the same environmental and evolutionary pressures that resulted in each species of animal possessing the particular bundle of behavioral and anatomical characteristics that distinguishes them. Many of these characteristics overlap and are similar between species and some do not and aren't very similar. Nature doesn't much care how easy or difficult it is for us to identify and/or understand her workings.

But...anyone that looks around at the amazing plethora of different life forms on Earth and somehow believes we human animals aren't the product of exactly the same process that resulted in all the animals...well someone thinking like that has little evidence to support their position as well as likely having some serious reality-testing issues.

My inspiration for this post occurred because the Haeckel drawing was floating around on facebook as an illustration of how closely related all the animals are. Well, we're all closely related and while that illustration isn't particularly good evidence, take a look at this one .
Human soft tissue tail.
 Humans are sometimes born with what is called a vestigial tail as the photo above shows. I couldn't find any data on the frequency of such occurrences but for Jack Black fans there is a quirky movie (called Shallow Hal) starring he and Gwnyeth Paltrow that has a character with a vestigial tail. The movie is a little far-fetched but sort of interesting and the behavior of the vestigial tail is featured in some scenes.

You're an animal, I'm an animal, Bobby Ray (one of the cat beings that resides with me) is an animal...we're all let's just all get along...and to do that we human animals have to live as ethical vegans. That's really not so tough...and...being vegan makes us much better at being able to be neighborly to our fellow animals.


Nicola said...

I actually thought that picture WAS a pig when I first looked at it resonated even more with me!

Have to agree with every single word you've said

Go vegan!


veganelder said...

Thank you for commenting Nicola. Go vegan!

Bea Elliott said...

Loved Shallow Hal - But darn! I can't remember a single thing about his tail... It was so many years ago maybe my arrogant human-ego ignored the possibility? Probably...

A lot of things become clear seeing those embryos of different species - Certainly we are all family. All with the same tissue, muscle, bone, blood, eyes, mouths, ears and so on.

It's so blatantly obvious that we're one... No wonder why the creationists in desperation, conjured up an "invisible" disqualifier. But I'm not buying! We should not harm our own. And you're right - living as an ethical vegan fixes that just fine!

veganelder said...

Thank you Bea for commenting. It wasn't the Jack Black character that had the vestigial tail, it was his friend/sidekick.

Living as an ethical vegan goes a massive distance toward fixing many things...sort of an all purpose existential solution. :-)