Schad Wolfgang - Man and mammals

Author : Schad Wolfgang
Title : Man and mammals Toward a biology of form
Year : 1977

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Foreword. It is my belief that Man and Mammals will delight and instruct ordinary readers, and it is my hope that it will set before serious students of biology not only a host of problems that deserve further inquiry, but valid clues to the most fruitful method for such inquiry. This book should be read in homes, in high schools and colleges, as well as by professional students of zoology and animal behavior. Its methods and conclusions are an important step towards the holistic biology that will give us a better perspective than we have at present on man's place in the natural order and will open the way to auspicious new beginnings in animal husbandry, medicine, agriculture, and education. By concentrating on the living form and structure of the mammals - their morphology - Schad studies these animals in their wholeness, just as they appear in the natural world. To him, every aspect of living form reveals something significant about the animal's nature as a whole. He raises questions so fundamental that many of them must have occurred to us before, perhaps in childhood. Why, for example, do the cattle have horns and the deer antlers? Why shouldn't mice or lions have such organs as well? Why do leopards have spots? Why are zebras striped? Is there some meaning in the contrast between the nervous, tiny, beady-eyed rodent, with its tenuous hold on life, and the large, self-sufficient, rather complacent ungulate - the cow, for example - whose grasp on life is so strong? And what of the carnivores, medium-sized but aggressive, who must belong, we feel, somewhere between these other two groups? Why should carnivores eat meat, mice grain, and cows grass? And how can an animal of the cow's enormous size sustain itself on such a poor diet? Why are the whales so thoroughly adapted to water that they were thought for centuries to be fishes, rather than mammals? Why does the porcupine, a rodent, live in a burrow deep underground, while the tiny harvest mouse weaves an intricate nest of grass high up in the bushes? What is man's relation to the natural world? Is he a highly developed animal, or does he have an ingredient the animals do not have, that gives him a unique potentiality and opens him to greater responsibilities? ...

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