The Secret Wisdom of Nature PDF

The Secret Wisdom of Nature PDF
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NATURE IS LIKE the mechanism in an enormous clock. Everything is neatly arranged and interconnected. Every entity has its place and its function. Take the wolf, for example. Under the order Carnivora, there is the suborder Caniformia, which includes the family Canidae and the subfamily Caninae, which includes the genus Canis, and within that genus is the species wolf. Phew. As predators, wolves regulate the number of plant eaters so that deer populations, for example, do not multiply too rapidly. All animals and plants are held in a delicate balance, and every entity has its purpose and role in its ecosystem. This way of organizing life supposedly gives us a clear view of the world, and thus a sense of security. As erstwhile plains dwellers, our most important sense is sight, and our species relies on viewing things clearly. But do we really have a clear view of what is going on? The wolves remind me of a story from my childhood. I was about five years old and on vacation visiting my grandparents in Würzburg when my grandfather gave me an old clock.

The first thing I did was take the clock apart, because I just couldn’t wait to find out how it worked. Even though I was convinced that I knew how to put it back together in working order, I couldn’t do it. After all, I was just a young child. After I rebuilt it, there were a few cogs left over—and a grandfather who was not in the best of moods. In the wild, wolves play the role of such cogs. If we eradicate them, not only do the enemies of sheep and cattle ranchers disappear, but the finely tuned mechanism of nature also begins to run differently, so differently that rivers change course and many local bird species die out. Things can also go awry when a species is added; for example, when the introduction of a nonnative fish leads to a massive reduction in the local elk population. Because of a fish? The earth’s ecosystems, it seems, are a bit too complex for us to compartmentalize them and draw up simple rules of cause and effect. Even conservation measures can have unexpected results. Who knew, for example, that recovering crane populations in Europe would affect the production of Iberian ham?

E-Book Details
Сategories: Biology-Genetics
Language: : English
Hardcover : 272 pages
ISBN-10 : 1771643889
ISBN-13 : 978-1771643887
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