A lot of folks still believe that humans were granted dominion over all other species. Over the Earth, for that matter. Even if you don’t actively believe the idea that a god handed humans the planet on a silver platter, just living in western culture means you’re soaking in it. (More on that in future posts.)
Well, a late-Bronze Age warlike Middle Eastern goat-herding tribe liked the idea. A group of them wrote a best-seller that opened with the dominion thing. I give you Genesis 1:28:
God blessed them and said to them, ‘Be fruitful and increase in number; fill the earth and subdue it. Rule over the fish in the sea and the birds in the sky and over every living creature that moves on the ground.’
That’s humans giving themselves dominion. Hey—why not? We’ve got the opposable thumbs and totally time-tested fantastic decision-making abilities.
Of course the bible was written before the advent of nature calendars (or of advent calendars). Now that we have nature calendars we can get schooled by a month-by-month parade of other creatures who have their own thing going on that makes humans look like total losers:
Check this out. Can human heads do this?
This guy’s got enormous guns of bone practically coming out of his eyeballs! Or maybe it’s keratin. Can you run full tilt into another guy who also has a head like this and just walk away? Because if you can the NFL wants to talk with you and I’m your new manager. But face it—whatever this ram does with his head, we cannot do that.
Can we do this? Can we build our homes with our faces?
No—we need a contractor and a loan and a guy in an apron at the Home Depot. (Personally, I can’t even clean my house with my face.) Could you build a house with your face in a tree just from stuff you find lying around and put your little kids in it and then a windstorm comes and everybody’s ok? No. Birds can. We can’t.
Can we do this?
You’re hanging around at home and it’s dinner time, and you and the voices in your head decide you’re hungry. And wham! You just stick your tongue out and catch a pizza or something.
It’s just delivered into your mouth by your incredible tongue! Really really fast and really far. This dude here can poke it out and reel it back in within 20 thousandths of a second. Try even pronouncing that—“twenty thousandths of a second” with your tongue.
And where would you store a tongue that big? I’m betting male humans would store something like that in their pants.
We’ve got them in our skin. Elephants have them in their feet and in the tips of their trunks. Unlike humans, elephants can use their Pc’s to sense the Rayleigh waves that move through the surface of the earth. That’s why, an hour before the earthquake that caused the 2004 tsunami in and around Thailand, elephants bolted for higher ground. The humans stayed; some of them just stood and watched as that strange wave came in, and regardless of what they were doing, almost 230,000 of them died.
There were no non-human animal corpses found after that deluge. They knew better and got the hell out. But smarty-pants elephants don’t have bullets, now do they? (This photo was not from a nature calendar. It was supposed to be for an Asshole of the Month calendar, but these three more than sufficed for the entire year.)
Pop quiz: Which one of these is toilet trained from birth?
One of these creatures knows from the get-go not to crap where she sleeps. (Hint: That same creature is smarter than a three-year-old human.) That’s right, the pig. Think about that the next time someone cooks bacon ‘n’ eggs for a human toddler. Or the next time a local daycare center has a benefit pig roast. The four-legged one being burned on the spit is smarter than the two-legged ones running around. And they don’t whine, either.
Can we do this? I’m not even talking about the flying part…
Can humans find our way thousands of miles without GPS or a map or any instruments? Even with a map, can we do it? Two words: Christopher Columbus. And what are the chances a human group this large could travel anywhere without someone having a hissy fit and insisting that the bus go back to the hotel?
I rest my case.