The ‘Tree of Life’

Back in 350 BCE, Aristotle regarded the essence of species as fixed and unchanging. He wrote his Historia Animalia, grouping animals according to their similarities of looks, actions or dwelling place: animals with blood and animals without, animals that live on water or on land, etc. Aristotle grouped his animals hierarchically from ‘lowest’ to ‘highest’, […]

An Inordinate Fondness For Beetles

Asked what could be inferred about the Creator from a study of His works, British scientist and naturalist JBS Haldane replied: “The Creator, if he existed, had an inordinate fondness for beetles”. I have just re-read the delightful book Jayne Janetsky gave me in 1999 and learned again: – Every fifth species of known animal […]

The Venomous, Egg-Laying, Duck-billed Platypus

This odd Australian mammal looks like a duck wearing a fur coat. Many other descriptions could be – and have been – made. People from the northern hemisphere might say it looks like a beaver trick-or-treating with a clumsily stuck-on fake duck bill. Famous also for laying eggs, the playtpus flummoxed clever men back in […]