Thursday, April 2, 2009
Seeing More Deeply at The Zoo
Some animals are easy to photograph and some are nearly impossible to catch, but too cute to resist. Lemurs are pretty much our family favorite ever since we bonded with some near Phoenix many years ago. This thing about zoos is we are used to seeing one of this and one of that and thinking there are these certain standard species out there in the world, but the really amazing thing is, if you read the signs, there is so much more than a zoo can ever show. You can walk until your feet scream at you but still, you have seen a tiny spec of a tiny sliver of a tiny percentage of the animals on the earth. The signs reveal that there might be dozens of kinds of lemurs and tens of species of a kind of monkey that has evolved to have no thumbs or a half dozen species of another that has evolved to have fingers that bend a full 90 degrees back so that they walk not on the palms of their 'hands' but on the pads at the base of the fingers to give their 'front legs' a few more inches of height. Thousands of species of crocodile/alligator like creatures and tens of thousands of snake species and several kinds of giraffes and over a dozen kinds of otters and hundreds of species of bats and, well, I could go on, but you get the idea. The diversity of life on our planet is fantabulously stupeniferously abundantly wonderfully amazing and we haven't even found and identified all the species yet, even as we drive them out of existence. It is an overwhelmingly resilient and dynamic natural world, yet we as a species possess a singular power to change and destroy and damage without even intending to or knowing we are doing so. The beauty is awesome, but the responsibility is staggering.