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The Thoughtful Animal

The Best Animal Engineers

beaver

If an intelligent alien species landed on the small bit of galactic rock that we call home, they might get out of their spaceships, have a look around, and decide that we—that is, our species—are the master builders on our planet. There would be plenty of reasons to think so. We build bridges spanning enormous [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Once Upon A Time, The Catholic Church Decided That Beavers Were Fish

beaver

From time to time, politicians and other rulers-of-men like to categorize the natural world not according to biology, but rather for convenience or monetary gain. Take, for example, the tomato. The progenitor of ketchup is a seed-bearing structure that grows from the flowering part of a plant. It is, by definition, a fruit. In 1893, [...]

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The Thoughtful Animal

Respect the Boundaries of The Beaver

Some animals pee on trees, and others rub their anal secretions on mounds of dirt. Some animals send Facebook messages to all the ex-girlfriends of their new boyfriends. No matter what the species, it probably engages in some form of territoriality. But as I’ve noted before, “studies of animal territoriality are particularly hard to conduct, [...]

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