IUCN Status: Vulnerable

This is an extract from Human Nature: How to be a Better Animal, part of Chapter 6’s list of ten animals that I would choose to save first.

Titan is an unusually masculine name for a dove, but Titan he was called. Carrying a satellite tag with him on his month-long marathon from Britain to North Africa, this athlete of a bird was recorded flying over 500km each night at a speed of 60 kilometres per hour. …


IUCN Status: Vulnerable

This is an extract from Human Nature: How to be a Better Animal, part of Chapter 6’s list of ten animals that I would choose to save first.

Alfred Russel Wallace was a mirror image of Charles Darwin: 15 years his junior, but still white-haired, long-bearded and obsessed with notions of evolution. The differences between the two were small: Wallace wasn’t bald on top and was obsessed with insects, whereas Darwin was a barnacle fanatic. …


IUCN Status: Vulnerable

This is an extract from Human Nature: How to be a Better Animal, part of Chapter 6’s list of ten animals that I would choose to save first.

We’ve brushed shells with one of the Galapagos’ giant tortoise species- the Fernandina tortoise- already. But aside from that passing mention in chapter 3, these incredible animals have thus far gone unmentioned. No longer. Giant tortoises, of course, helped Darwin to arrive at his grand theory of evolution, though they get precious little in the way of thanks. None of the dozen varieties found on the archipelago were described at all scientifically…


IUCN Status: Critically Endangered

This is an extract from Human Nature: How to be a Better Animal, part of Chapter 6’s list of ten animals that I would choose to save first.

I’m going to say right away that I am not a plant person. Tree-hugger perhaps, but if it doesn’t have eyes or a heart or a nose, then it’s off the books for me. I’m not proud of my anti-plant bias, but the reason for it is simple to devine. Plants don’t move or do anything much interesting on time scales we can appreciate. …


IUCN Status: Vulnerable

This is an extract from Human Nature: How to be a Better Animal, part of Chapter 6’s list of ten animals that I would choose to save first.

Indonesia is one of the most biodiverse countries on Earth, so it’s hardly surprising we should find Earth’s most impressive reptile amidst its species-rich islands. Reaching 3 metres in length and weighing as much as you or I, the Komodo dragon is as close as we’ve come to finding a living dinosaur. They can smell blood up to 4km away, and inject 5 separate toxins in their venom when they bite. Victims…


IUCN Status: Critically Endangered

This is an extract from Human Nature: How to be a Better Animal, part of Chapter 6’s list of ten animals that I would choose to save first.

I’ve always wanted to live in a treehouse. The ability to look down at nature with a bird’s eye view seems so magical to me that it has never lost its appeal. Orangutans not only fulfill this fantasy of mine, but they do so in spectacular fashion. Say I was to drop you in the rainforest canopy of Indonesia to spend the night. My guess is, you’d get precious little sleep and…


IUCN Status: Data Deficient

This is an extract from Human Nature: How to be a Better Animal, part of Chapter 6’s list of ten animals that I would choose to save first.

3000 metres under the sea, everything is dark- so perhaps it’s not surprising few people have seen the dumbo octopus. Those who have describe the webbing between its tentacles giving it an umbrella shape, and of course the fins on either side of its head paying homage to a certain flying elephant. …


IUCN Status: Critically Endangered

This is an extract from Human Nature: How to be a Better Animal, part of Chapter 6’s list of ten animals that I would choose to save first.

Described on his Tinder profile as “the most eligible bachelor in the world,” Sudan the Northern White Rhino passed away in 2018. Suffering from crippling illness, old-age, and infection, his carers were forced to euthanise him in a tragic end to years of valiant protection. His previous 24hr guard was dismissed, and media headlines around the world ran stories about the passing of a species. Sudan was the last male Northern White…


IUCN Status: Data Deficient

This is an extract from Human Nature: How to be a Better Animal, part of Chapter 6’s list of ten animals that I would choose to save first.

The Matabele were a fierce Zulu tribe that fought against colonial conquest in a series of brief but brutal wars. Their name comes from the tall traditional cowhide shields they used to defend themselves in combat. Sadly, cowhide does little to protect against a shot from a bayonet, and the tribe was heavily outgunned. However, they were respected and feared at times by these invading powers for the courage and cunning they…


IUCN Status: Vulnerable

This is an extract from Human Nature: How to be a Better Animal, part of Chapter 6’s list of ten animals that I would choose to save first.

Diomedes was one of the great Greek heroes, described in Homer’s Iliad and deified thereafter with a suite of myths to his name. For instance, he once wounded the god of war (Ares) with a spear- that’s no easy feat! Legend has it that, returning home in triumph from battle, his ship was blown off course in an almighty storm and driven onto the coast of Southern Italy. Stranded, beaten, and battered…

Elliot Connor

We all come from stardust. Via the anuses of thousands of worms.

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