Monday, April 27, 2009


The latest worldwide health panic of a deadly strain of swine influenza emanating from Mexico ties in neatly with the talk of the seagulls' covert attempts at world domination. The question that I was wondering was, when human predatory hegemony is finally usurped, which of the species will be responsible and how will they go about achieving it? Indeed, can we already see signs of this happening?

Before attempting to answer that, I'd like to grasp the nettle of anthropomorphism. It's a measure of the arrogance of the human animal that other species always analogously come off worse - either we pompously bestow the finest qualities of other creatures upon ourselves, or else denigrate them with our worst habits and faults. The latter especially with the most undeserving of our derogation: the pig.

Expressions such as pig-headed, pig ignorant, eat like a pig, like a pigsty, pig out, sweat like a pig are not only unfair, but plain wrong. The pig is a beautiful, intelligent, clean, friendly animal that deserves a lot better respect. To use pig as an insult towards some fucking turd of a human being is an outrageous affront to the pig.

Unless the entire planet becomes flooded leaving but two small uninhabitable archipelagos where the Himalayas and the Andes are now located, I can't conceive a way that water-dependent creatures could have any effect upon the land-dwellers. However, our species did evolve from the sea, so perhaps something unforeseen will emerge from the depths in tens of millions of years' time. It's been said that sharks (and indeed roaches) would survive all-out nuclear destruction - so they are a candidate for survival in the case of a land-based apocalypse.

The survivability of the cockroach has already been mentioned - they are amazingly cunning and extremely resistant to human attempts at ridding their number from apartment blocks and dodgy restaurants. I'm sure they can also understand rudimentary human speech. Mosquitoes and other airborne insects with a propensity for feasting on blood have enormous potential for eliminating entire species through the transmission of disease. If they can learn to adapt to colder climates, then they must surely be considered serious candidates.

Whilst there are clearly many mammals that are far more sentient and intelligent than the human species, I personally don't rate their chances in an unforgiving environment alongside so many other predatory mammalian foes. However, a cross-breed transmission of a deadly virus (as attempted by monkeys, 'mad' cows, and now pigs) could sooner or later reap a huge apocalyptic pandemic jackpot.

Birds generally have huge advantages that we fail to notice at our peril. The aforementioned example of the seagull, in particular, is highly mobile across water, land and of course upwards into the sky; it can feed upon almost anything; they are not preyed upon (human attempts at curtailing their number have not proven successful);
potentially adaptable to any environment on the planet; and finally, possessors of an uncanny instinct and intelligence combined with seriously aggressive intent.


Thomas Bey William Bailey said...

Glossing over these potential scenarios for animal usurpation of the planet, I was reminded of this somewhat funny satirical piece...

I've had a number of heated debates with other bipedal creatures over the past couple days, and it's really depressing how few consider pigs to have any kind of intelligence at all. In all cases their only exposure to pigs has been the kind that gets tossed unceremoniously into overcrowded pens. The coprophagia and other nasty behaviors associated with them are virtually always a side effect of living in such *man-made* restrictive environments. Left to their own devices, they're infinitely more graceful than they're given credit for.

Alan.. said...

This is only tangentially related to your points regarding the anthropomorphism of various animals, but it has always amused me when I am told how humans apparently have a special attraction to penguins, because "they remind us so much of ourselves".

It's something that has always seemed a bit insulting to the penguins really, since they have the advantage over us in so many areas, all the way from committed parenting to gay rights. :)

It may be a cliché at this point, but I still think our own short-sighted behaviour will be the catalyst for our downfall as a species.

Traveller said...

I agree! We are so quick to insult both each other and other animals in myriad dengerating fashions. And really, how is calling someone a cow an insult, really? I mean, cows are beautiful, gracious, calm, large, gentle vegetarians.