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Tuesday, 14 October 2014

Curtiosity about animal behaviour

And anatomy...

There be three things which are too wonderful for me, yea, four which I know not: the way of an eagle in the air; the way of a serpent upon a rock . . .
— Holy Bible, Proverbs, 30:18-19

Animals studied by Americans rush about frantically, with an incredible display of bustle and pep, and at last achieve the desired result by chance. Animals studied by Germans sit still and think, and at last evolve the solution out of their inner consciousness.
— Bertrand Russell (1872 - 1970

A curious case has been given by Prof. Möbius, of a pike, separated by a plate of glass from an adjoining aquarium stocked with fish, and who often dashed himself with such violence against the glass in trying to catch the other fishes, that he was sometimes completely stunned. The pike went on thus for three months, but at last learned caution, and ceased to do so. The plate of glass was then removed, but the pike would not attack these particular fishes, though he would devour others which were afterwards introduced; so strongly was the idea of a violent shock associated in his feeble mind with the attempt on his former neighbours.
— Charles Darwin, The Descent of Man, second edition, John Murray, 1885.

The writer found that certain freshwater crustaceans, namely Californian species of Daphnia, copepods, and Gammarus when indifferent to light can be made intensely positively heliotropic by adding some acid to the fresh water, especially the weak acid CO2. When carbonated water (or beer) to the extent of about 5 c.c. or 10 c.c. is slowly and carefully added to 50 c.c. of fresh water containing these Daphnia, the animals will become intensely positive and will collect in a dense cluster on the window side of the dish. Stronger acids act in the same way but the animals are likely to die quickly. . . Alcohols act in the same way. In the case of Gammarus the positive heliotropism lasts only a few seconds, while in Daphnia it lasts from 10 to 50 minutes and can be renewed by the further careful addition of some CO2.
— Jacques Loeb (1859 - 1924), Forced Movements, Tropisms, & Animal Conduct, Dover edition of 1973, pp. 113 - 114.

Every family has a skeleton in the cupboard.
— Proverb

If I were a Queensland giant
With great big smelly feet,
I'd stomp on a Queensland cane-toad
And make my feet smell sweet.
— Duncan Bain (pseud.) (1944 - ) 'Cane toed', from Tad to Telegraph: a history of the Poles, Anura Books, 1983.

Social chaos is hell for the family and for those who have destroyed the family as well.
Bhagavad Gita, 1:43, in the translation of Eknath Easwaran, Arkana Books, 1985.

Rembrandt van Rijn The Anatomy Lesson of Dr Tulp
If anyone wishes to observe the works of Nature, he should put his trust not in books on anatomy but in his own eyes and either come to me, or consult one of my associates, or alone by himself, industriously practise exercises in dissection; but so long as he only reads, he will be more likely to believe all the earlier anatomists, because there are so many of them.
— Galen, quoted in Boorstin, The Discoverers, 346

I went out to Charing Cross, to see Major-general Harrison hanged, drawn, and quartered; which was done there, he looking as cheerful as any man could do in that condition.
— Samuel Pepys (1633 - 1703), Diary (13 Oct, 1660),

Many right skilful masters in chirurgery, and the best learned anatomists, are of the opinion that the veins of the eyes reach to the brain. For mine own part, I would rather think that they pass into the stomach. This is certain, I never knew a man's eye plucked out of his head, but he fell to vomiting upon it, and the stomach cast up all within it.
— Gaius Plinius Secundus (23-79) The Natural History, translated by Philemon Holland, page 132.

The animal machine is governed by three main regulators: respiration, which consumes oxygen and carbon and provides heating power; perspiration, which increases or decreases according to whether a great deal of heat has to be transported or not; and finally digestion, which restores to the blood what it loses in breathing and perspiration.
— Antoine Laurent Lavoisier (1743 - 1794), Traité de Chimie (1793).

Sweet is the lore which nature brings;
Our meddling intellect
Misshapes the beauteous form of things;
We murder to dissect.
— William Wordsworth (1770 - 1850), 'The Tables Turned'.
If we view a Porpess on the outside, there is nothing more than a Fish, but if we look within, there is nothing less.
— Anatomist Edward Tyson, 1680

The Bat and the Weasels 

A Bat who fell upon the ground and was caught by a Weasel pleaded to be spared his life. The Weasel refused, saying that he was by nature the enemy of all birds. The Bat assured him that he was not a bird, but a mouse, and thus was set free. Shortly afterwards the Bat again fell to the ground and was caught by another Weasel, whom he likewise entreated not to eat him. The Weasel said that he had a special hostility to mice. The Bat assured him that he was not a mouse, but a bird, and thus a second time escaped.
It is wise to turn circumstances to good account.
— Aesop, Fables.

To such a person my hope has been that my treatise would prove of the very greatest assistance. Still, such people may be expected to be quite few in number, while, as for the others, this book will be as superfluous to them as a tale told to an ass.
— Galen, On the natural faculties.

Legend also says that while he is supposed to have learned anatomy in Paris under the great master of his age, Sylvius, an apocryphal tale has it that Vesalius was heard to remark that the only time he ever saw Sylvius use a knife was to eat his peas. But that remains legend: what we know for a fact is that after Vesalius was done with his work, anatomy had to be a science of observation.

Philosophy, astronomy, and politics were marked at zero, I remember. Botany variable, geology profound as regards the mud stains from any region within fifty miles of town, chemistry eccentric, anatomy unsystematic, sensational literature and crime records unique, violin player, boxer, swordsman, lawyer, and self-poisoner by cocaine and tobacco.
— Dr Watson describes Holmes in The Five Orange Pips.

Geology is related to almost all the physical sciences, as history is to the moral. A historian should, if possible, be at once profoundly acquainted with ethics, politics, jurisprudence, the military art, theology; in a word with all branches of knowledge by which any insight into human affairs, or into the moral and intellectual nature of man, can be obtained. It would be no less desirable that a geologist should be well-versed in chemistry, natural philosophy, mineralogy, zoology, comparative anatomy, botany; in short, in every science relating to organic and inorganic nature.
— Sir Charles Lyell (1797 - 1875), quoted in A Thousand and One Gems of English Prose, selected by Charles Mackay, (19th century?).

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