Creature Comforts

I have always been amazed how little credit is given to other creatures in the advancement of our own species. For as long as we have existed, we have used their unique talents to our benefit ourselves. Here are some great examples:

Falconry uses trained birds of pray to fly free, hunt, and return to their human to be put back in captivity. This form of hunting is believed to have originated in China sometime around 2000 BC. Talk about fast food!

Asian elephants are commonly used in Thailand and India for logging. Unfortunately when logging in Thailand was banned, those that didn’t brave the illegal trade took to the streets with their homeless elephants to rely on begging and tourism to survive. I think this thing would be way more fun to drive than a backhoe!

Dating back to the 10th century the indigenous people of North America relied on sled dogs as their main mode of transportation. It’s not quite the high speed lane, but probably safe than those Ice Road Truckers routes.

We can’t forget the horse, one of the most versatile animals used in human existence. Their uses range from riding, driving carriages and sleighs, plowing, racing, logging, entertainment and pleasure. There are even seeing eye ponies…seriously.

We also have pack animals such as mules and llamas who have been tasked with carrying our stuff. Llamas are commonly used in South America and can carry up to 30% of their own body weight!

Due to their innate homing abilities, carrier pigeons have been used for over 3000 years, beginning in Egypt and Persia to deliver important messages to far off paces. Just make sure you’re sending you message only to the “home” location the bird is trained to, otherwise this guy is definitely losing your message in the mail.

In the 1960’s the US developed a marine mammal program which deployed dolphins to detect underwater mines and other man-made devices otherwise difficult to locate. Today the US uses the dolphins with advanced technology like cameras to our advantage. I’m still waiting for the octopus camera version.

Animals have many amazing adaptations that humans have taken advantage of, and built upon over thousands of years to further our own species. Don’t you think they’d catch on by now…?

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