The Face of the Earth: Environment and World History

By J. Donald Hughes | Go to book overview
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J. Donald Hughes


Biodiversity in

World History

We humans are not alone on the Earth. Our lives, our culture, our technology, and our art have been immeasurably enriched because our ancestors learned to watch, listen to, and imitate the other animals that share the land and sea with us. So the ancient Greek philosopher Democritus thought. He speculated that people learned how to weave from spiders and how to sing from songbirds, swans, and nightingales. Humans got the inspiration to build houses of clay from watching swallows at work on their nests. "In the most important concerns," he wrote, "we are pupils of the animals." 1 A more recent author, Steven Lonsdale, argued in a remarkable book filled with examples from every part of the world that dance owes its origin and development to human imitation of the varied movements of mammals,

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