CAN CATS AND DOGS SEE ‘SPIRITS’? SCIENCE CONFIRMS THEY CAN SEE FREQUENCIES WE CAN’T

by Cassius MethylGuest Waking Times

It was recently brought to my attention that even mainstream science recognizes cats, dogs, and other animals can see frequencies humans can’t.

After reading about it a little bit, it makes sense scientifically in a separate way from spiritually. It’s simple really: the scientific explanation is that cats and dogs can see UV light and a few other rays, which human retinas don’t have the ability to see.

It was previously believed that all mammals had similar eyes to humans, incapable of seeing UV rays, but scientific evidence suggests many mammals can.

study conducted a few years ago by biologists at City University London, UK provided evidence for this differential in sight between species.

According to Pet MD:

“Have you ever felt that your cat or dog can see something you don’t? Well, you may be right, according to a new study. Cats, dogs, and other mammals are thought to see in ultraviolet light, which opens up a whole different world than the one we see, the study explains.

 

UV light is the wave length beyond the visible light from red to violet that humans can see. Humans have a lens that blocks UV from reaching the retina. It was previously thought that most mammals have lenses similar to humans.

 

Scientists studied the lenses of dead mammals, including cats, dogs, monkeys, pandas, hedgehogs, and ferrets. By researching how much light passes through the lens to reach the retina, they concluded that some mammals previously thought not to be able to see UV actually can.”

However, I believe there is something more to this phenomena that delves into the metaphysical realm.

My little sister and I have had experiences where our cats see things that aren’t there. They bat at the air with their paws, meow, hiss, and make strange noises at things that we can’t see.

The most profound time it occurred was right after my grandfather passed. Our cat named Double Stuff was batting at the air, meowing very strangely, and chasing something around the room, trying to jump at it in the air, looking at this thing on the ceiling.

It was almost as if some spirit or entity was floating around on the ceiling and only the cat could see it.

There was no different UV light in my room when the cat did this: so why would the cat only at that time try to chase some invisible things?

Then a few weeks ago, my sister experienced seeing “shadow people,” a phenomena commonly reported by people who suffer from sleep paralysis.

As she saw these shadow entities around the house at night (given that it wasn’t an illusion), the cat started acting strange and scared. It meowed, hissed, did the same things it did before but in a scared way, not bewildered and interested.

Do you feel like some other entities exist around us, just as ultraviolet rays exist around us that we can’t perceive, and only certain animals are, perhaps even only sometimes, aware of them? I certainly do from my experience.

About the Author
Cassius Methyl is a researcher and writer from Sacramento, California. He is the founder of Era of Wisdom, writer/director of the documentary “Toddlers on Amphetamine: History of Big Pharma and the Major Players,” and a writer in the alternative media since 2013 at the age of 17. He focuses primarily on identifying the exact individuals, institutions, and entities responsible for various forms of human slavery and control, particularly chemicals and more insidious forms of hegemony: identifying exactly who damages our well being and working toward independence from those entities, whether they are corporate, government, or institutional.
This article (Can Cats and Dogs See ‘Spirits’? Science Confirms They Can See Frequencies We Can’t) was originally created and published by The Mind Unleashed and is re-posted here with permission. 

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/08/06/can-cats-dogs-see-spirits-science-confirms-can-see-frequencies-cant/

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Going Undercover With Africa’s Premier Anti-Poaching Unit

Images from the raid, where the Zambian, despite having one hand already cuffed, resists arrest.

Busting open the black-market ivory trade in Malawi and Zambia

by Joseph Haldeman

In a pink motel room just a few miles from the ZambiaMalawi border in landlocked Southeastern Africa, two European men count stacks of local currency across a floral bedspread: 10,000, 20,000, 30,000, 40,000, 50,000 Zambian kwacha, which comes out to roughly $5,000.

A third man watches like a casino pit boss from a plastic armchair, his foot resting on a giant suitcase. He’s a wealthy Zambian with a body builder’s physique, gold jewelry and designer pink polo shirt. He keeps checking his phone and telling the other men to hurry up.

“I lost count again,” one of them, Matthieu, responds in a thick French accent.

All of a sudden, two plainclothes police officers storm through the doors pointing AK-47s in all directions.

Matthieu and his partner Mark, a tall lean Brit, take their cue and jump. Even with one of them on his back and a taser to his chest, the Zambian still lands several punches before slamming into the bathroom sink, knocking it off the wall with his hip. Matthieu’s shirt rips during the scuffle, exposing a giant tattoo of the French Airborne Paratroopers’ emblem over his heart.

“Give up! There’s a whole team outside!” Mark yells.

A policeman fires a warning shot outside, and the Zambian quits resisting.

Police discover two more accomplices in the motel parking lot as they attempt to flee in a silver Corolla. One of them is merely a driver, but the other is Bridget Banda, a well-connected figure in Zambia’s judicial system. The police instantly recognize her from a print-out of her WhatsApp profile photo, taken from the personal account she used to arrange the entire deal with Matthieu over months of correspondence.

Unlike the Zambian, Bridget and her driver don’t resist. In handcuffs, they’re led into the motel room.

Bridget Banda, who is the architect of the ivory deal, pictured with her two accomplices and the 80 pounds of ivory they intended to sell.

Matthieu finally sorts through the giant tarpaulin. One by one, he pulls out the long, tapering objects contained inside — each of which is cream-colored and caked with the rust brown of African soil, blood or both.

“Nine tusks.”

That adds up to about 80 pounds of illegal ivory, which in Hong Kong, the world’s largest ivory market, will fetch nearly $40,000. There, the tusks are polished white and carved into necklaces, combs, alligators, Buddhas, and of course, elephants, before being sold in one of the hundreds of retailers across the city.

“Four and a half pairs. That’s at least five dead elephants,” Mark says.

One of the tusks is smaller than the others.

“A female?”

A police officer shakes his head.

“A younger one.”

Last September, The Great Elephant Census—a research organization funded by Paul G. Allen, the internationally renowned philanthropist and co-founder of Microsoft, published the most extensive study of the African elephant to date. The report (a result of 9,700 hours of flight surveys over 18 counties) estimated a loss of 144,000 Savanna elephants in just seven years. Almost a third of the entire population had vaporized due to poaching. One of the nations hit hardest was Malawi, where Matthieu and Mark currently work.

According to the World Bank’s GDP per capita ratings, Malawi is the fifth-poorest nation on the planet. Making matters worse, last year, a global El Niñobrought a significant drought to Southern Africa that devastated Malawi’s small agrarian economy, crippled the production of its key export (tobacco) and drove up the price of the staple of its diet (corn). It also meant fewer watering holes in the county’s expansive national parks, condensing the migration of its wildlife.

So not only is poaching a tempting way to make money, it’s far easier than usual, too. In Kasungu National Park, for instance, only one vast watering hole remains in the entire 900-square-mile reserve. Two large elephant families visit it around 11 a.m. every single day.

They’re beyond low-hanging fruit.

It’s alongside this watering hole — in a humble brick and plywood house — where Matthieu lives. When he first moved there in 2012, he could hear gunshots almost every night. The park had been left virtually unguarded for years, and the elephant population — at around 3,000 in 1970 — was down to a mere 42 animals.

His job, like Mark’s, is to reverse this trend. They work as undercover agents in an elite anti-poaching unit under the leadership of former South African Special Forces Commander Mike Labuschagne, a man with a long history of military experience in African conflict zones and a reputation for toughness. In the late 1980s, he fought Cuban forces alongside guerrilla factions in Angola. (“The Cold War wasn’t so cold here,” he says.) Afterward, he contracted for a number of private military operations that targeted illegal gold mines, before a friend suggested he try anti-poaching in 1992…

more…

https://melmagazine.com/going-undercover-with-africas-premier-anti-poaching-unit-ab9e5c309c0c

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THIS GENETIC SYNDROME CAUSES UNCONDITIONAL LOVE AND MAY EXPLAIN WHY DOGS ARE SO HAPPY

by Christina SarichStaff Writer Waking Times

Maybe you’ve never heard of Williams Syndrome, often called the opposite of Autism. It makes people “love too much.” The very same rare condition which causes human beings to be too friendly may be an expression of genes in your dog that causes him to lick your face with unmitigated glee every time he sees you. This rare genetic expression may also indicate a move toward higher human evolution.

The “Too Friendly” Syndrome

When first learning of this condition, one might think that it couldn’t possibly be a problem. After all, who among us hasn’t imagined a world where we greeted everyone – from the postman to our kid’s teacher – with a hug and sincere enthusiasm?

People with Williams syndrome, also known as Williams-Beuren syndrome, occurs when people are missing of a chunk of DNA containing about 27 genes. Only about 1 in 100,000 people have the condition. It is accompanied often by certain physical traits, such as an upturned nose, a broad forehead, a small chin, and larger ears, which causes people to look elfish.

It’s possible that many of the jesters and fools in Shakespeare’s time were people with Williams syndrome.

Aside from how Williams syndrome people look physically, they are often musical geniuses with mild to moderate intellectual disabilities and an uncanny desire to love everyone they see. Sound familiar?

People with Williams syndrome often face challenges, though, even with their loving personalities. They find it hard to restrain their desire to hug complete strangers or tell a random person that they are beautiful, often eliciting negative social feedback from those who are unfamiliar with the condition.

Williams syndrome individuals are often extremely vulnerable to those who would use their strong desire to be loving and friendly, for personal gain.

Unconditional Love is a Genetic Anomaly

Scientists have now found a link between the genetic structure of Williams syndrome and the genes of dogs – the only other animal that might come close to resembling the unconditional love offered by Williams syndrome individuals.

The first hint of a link between dogs and Williams syndrome came in 2010, when evolutionary biologist Bridgett vonHoldt and her colleagues examined DNA from 225 wolves and 912 dogs from 85 breeds. They were looking for dog evolutionary traits that differed from wolves.

Dog DNA

One gene that become of interest was WBSCR17. Its presence suggested that it or other genes near it were important in dog evolution. This region of the genome is similar in dogs and humans, and the human version of WBSCR17 is located near the sequence that is deleted in people with Williams syndrome.

As most people have noticed, wolves typically spend less time near humans than dogs do, as we haven’t bred them to be “domesticated,” and to live in our close proximity. Whether the WBSCR17 gene developed in dogs as part of a mutation, or simply due to epigenetic conditioning remains to be determined.

The researchers also found that dog breeds which were typically found to be more friendly also had a higher incidence of this gene.

Deleted Genes and Evolution

This begs the question – is Williams syndrome a “condition” or a mutation of our genes toward higher evolution? Less than six percent of the entire population has a set of their genes deleted to cause Williams, however, nature has indicated that other species evolve more harmoniously when they cooperate, and display signs of affection.

Bonobos, one of the closest primates to humans, are notorious for helping their social structures thrive by showing sexual affection. New studies in neurobiology have promoted our species being saved from our own cutthroat behaviors with social altruism. Williams, and the similar gene structure in man’s (woman’s) best friend, may simply indicate a thrust toward kindness in our genetic evolution.

About the Author

Christina Sarich is a staff writer for Waking Times. She is a writer, musician, yogi, and humanitarian with an expansive repertoire…

This article (This Genetic Syndrome Causes Unconditional Love and May Explain Why Dogs are So Happy) was originally created and published by Waking Times and is published here under a Creative Commons license with attribution to Christina Sarich and WakingTimes.com. It may be re-posted freely with proper attribution and author bio.

http://www.wakingtimes.com/2017/07/21/genetic-syndrome-causes-unconditional-love-may-explain-dogs-happy/

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How to Get Rid of Pests and Bugs the Buddhist Way

How to Get Rid of Pests and Bugs the Buddhist Way
Photo by Kate Brady http://tricy.cl/2dK2twW

Kill that impulse! Here are compassionate Buddhist solutions for your favorite pests, without killing them.

By Allan Badiner
Good news and bad news. The bad news first: No, you do not have special dispensation from the Buddha to murder those obnoxious little rodent and insect pests that are somehow capable of terrorizing beings thousands of times their size, when all they want is a little food, water and a place to get cozy up with their mates.
The good news is that with a little extra effort, you can rid yourself of these unwelcome guests (ants, mice, cockroaches, fleas, ticks, etc) and feel the karmic joy of living in the light of the dharma!

“Dharma” means truth and the teachings, and it is also the word for nature itself.  The Venerable Narada Mahathera tells us that as nature is the manifestation of truth, and of the teachings, we should cultivate kindness and compassion for all, trying not to kill or cause injury to any living creature, even the tiniest creature that crawls at our feet, and bites them.

Of course precepts, or guidelines for following the dharma, are training principles, and Buddhists undertake to observe them to the best of their abilities.  At times certain conditions may not allow us to rigidly adhere to the precepts and no one can live through life without ever breaking them.  It is at such times that we must use our common sense and human intelligence to make the best decisions.

In Buddhism there is a long held and integral tradition of caring for animals and all living creatures. They are regarded in Buddhist thought as sentient beings, different than humans in their intellectual ability but no less capable of feeling suffering, fearing death, and craving life. Vasubandhu, a 4th century Indian scholar-monk and one of the most prominent figures in Buddhist history, said that it is deluded to kill even poisonous pests, and Asoka, the Buddhist King of India, posted edicts that included a prohibition on the killing of vermin of all kinds.

At the time of the Buddha, rules were made against monks wandering about in the rainy season in part due to the damage done to so many creatures rising to the surface of wet soil for a drink. The same applied to the cutting of trees that were seen as essential to the lives of many animals large and small (known as “breathers”). Asoka planted shade trees, medicinal herbs and wayside wells for both humans and animals. This culture of non-harming, and recognition of the right to life enjoyed by all sentient beings contributes to what makes a monastery or Buddhist temple feel so safe and welcoming to all.

Robert Thurman tells of the great India scholar-monk Asanga from the 5th century CE who at that point, had been meditating in a cave for 12 years, unsuccessfully, in order to gain a vision of the Bodhisattva Maitreya, the future Buddha and the embodiment of loving kindness.  One day he saw a stray dog afflicted with maggot infested sores. Fearing that pulling the maggots off the dog would harm them, he expended great effort to coax them off the sore and onto his warm and moist tongue where they could feed on his own flesh.  At this point, both the dog and the maggots disappeared, and a full and splendorous image of Maitreya appeared where the dog had once been.

Meanwhile, just by walking in the forest or breathing the air, we are taking the life of many small creatures. We inadvertently kill hundreds of insects on a nighttime car ride. We wipe out thousands of bacteria, also sentient beings, daily when we shower and brush our teeth and disinfect our homes.  Generally, there has been a strong element of practicality in Buddhism relative to the extent people are expected to go to avoid any and all killing.

This is one way that the Middle Path distinguished itself from Jainism, where the most devoted of followers would shun clothing, wear masks to filter out airborne creatures, and sweep their path before letting their feet touch the ground. The Buddhist approach to ahimsa, or non-harming, in the realm of small animals and microorganisms, was to exercise all reasonable measures to avoid needless or avoidable killing—recognizing that these creatures too want to eat and avoid harm. In fact, humans are not apart from the world of microorganisms, and are made up of many smaller beings living on us and within us.

Nevertheless, as Buddhist scholar Brian Peter Harvey explains, to kill or harm another being, whether it is a rat or a cockroach or a horse, is to ignore the fragility and aspiration for happiness that one has in common with it. This violates the dharma of interdependence, and compassion. The Buddha made no distinction between the sizes of the victim (cow or ant) or between intentions in killing (self-defense or hunting for pleasure). However, Buddhism focuses heavily on intention, so that all acts of killing are not necessarily equally blameworthy. However, its stronger emphasis on compassion insures that not harming other beings is always praiseworthy…

more…

https://tricycle.org/trikedaily/kill-impulse-compassionate-solutions-your-favorite-pest/

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The pig on your plate

Resultado de imagem para Limousin sow, Dordogne de Neuvialle (two years old), and her piglet. Photo by Yann Arthus-Bertrand/Getty

Limousin sow, Dordogne de Neuvialle (two years old), and her piglet. Photo by Yann Arthus-Bertrand/Getty

That pigs are smart and sensitive is not in doubt. How can we justify continuing to kill them for food?

by Barbara J King is emerita professor of anthropology at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia. She writes for NPR’s 13.7 Cosmos and Culture blog and her latest books are Personalities on the Plate: The Lives and Minds of Animals We Eat (2017) and How Animals Grieve (2013).

Domestic pigs, the kind portrayed in hot-pink neon above barbecue joints, curly tailed and carefree, have prodigious memories. In problem-solving with computers, they match wits with little kids and win. They are able to plan ahead, and they live in complex social communities. They recognise other pigs as distinct individuals.

Pigs aren’t just cerebral, though: they have heart. When others are in distress, they can express concern and act with empathy. A description of pig behaviours, derived from scientific experiments and compiled by Lori Marino of the Kimmela Center for Animal Advocacy and Christina M Colvin at Georgia Institute of Technology is so impressive, you might think it was about chimpanzees, elephants or whales.

We eat pigs, though, and we eat them on a scale unparalleled in comparison with the rate at which we consume other brainy mammals. According to the United Nation’s Food and Agriculture Organization, pork is the most consumed meat in the world.

Barbecue is a cultural obsession in many countries, as is bacon, whether served straight up or in more recent innovations such as bacon chocolate and bacon vodka. Plus, once satiated with real bacon, some might even retire to bed after brushing with bacon-flavoured toothpaste.

We value the taste of pigs far more than we value the lives of pigs. Exceptions include pig celebrities, whose personalities are known and cherished, and whom we assign to a different, protected, pet-like non-consumable status. Esther, a 650 lb ‘wonder pig’ who lives in a house with Derek Walter and Steve Jenkins in Ontario, Canada, is a ‘public figure’ on Facebook with more than 1.1 million followers.

Or consider Christopher Hogwood (named after the famed English conductor and musicologist), a pig who lived in a barn at the home of Sy Montgomery and Howard Mansfield in New Hampshire from his infancy until his death at age 14. Christopher grew to a size even larger than Esther, and through Montgomery’s memoir The Good Good Pig(2006) became a poster pig for porcine cognition and emotion.

Montgomery describes how a belly rub in the sun from her, or dinner leftovers from a local chef, plunged Christopher into a state of utter delight visible to all: he telegraphed this rapture through sound (‘unh-unh-unh!’) and body posture. At those moments, he became the ultimate mindful mammal, one who dwelled entirely in the present. But Christopher didn’t live only in the present any more than we do. He built nests, not in a rote instinctual way, but in fussy anticipation of his own needs for soft-hay comfort. His memory for individual humans – his own complex social community – was excellent. Two young children, once neighbours, continued to visit him at irregular intervals even after they moved to another state. ‘He still remembered the little girls next door,’ Montgomery told me, ‘when they had been away not only for a pretty long time, but during a period of adolescent growth in which just a few months will make a big difference – in what you look like, how tall you are, what your voice sounds like, what you smell like.’ Christopher’s ‘voice became softer and lower’ when interacting with people who were visibly sad, a feat of perspective-taking that suggests an empathy response.

Of course, storytelling about pigs as individuals invites people to think differently about pork and bacon. But what does science – the kind of science reviewed by Marino and Colvin – say? That question has preoccupied me for several years.

Some science begins with the presumption that pigs are not particularly intelligent or empathetic animals. Two years ago, a group of swine researchers led by the animal scientist Sophie Brajon then at the Université Laval in Quebec published the paper ‘The Way Humans Behave Modulates the Emotional State of Piglets’. The research is part of a corpus showing that the emotional state of animals, including farmed animals, biases their information-processing. Yet the conclusion reached, that gently handled pigs showed more positive emotional states than roughly handled or neglected ones, conveys a larger message. We have a way to go before that message is accepted, as opposed to the big argument, that farmed animals have emotions and are affected by how we treat them.

A good deal of the science writing on pigs aims to increase awareness of pigs’ capacities so that they are treated better. The biologist Donald Broom and colleagues at the University of Cambridge discovered that pigs, with only five hours of experience, can use a mirror to find the location of a hidden object. Mirror-naïve pigs search behind the mirror to find the treat, but after five hours’ practice, 10 of 11 pigs turned away to find the real location of the savoury items within 23 seconds. (A fan blew the food smells away, so that smell cues didn’t confound the process.) This is a cognitive feat because both the concept of the food and its position must be remembered, as interpreted from the non-real-world view of the mirror…

more…

https://aeon.co/essays/what-more-evidence-do-we-need-to-stop-killing-pigs-for-food

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How We Really Tamed the Dog

Dugatkin_BREAKER_05

SURVIVAL OF THE CUTEST: Three adorable domesticated fox pups sitting together in a field.Irena Pivovarova

A daring experiment builds a new tame species in just 60 years.

Suppose you wanted to build the perfect dog from scratch. What would be the key ingredients in the recipe? Loyalty and smarts would be musts. Cuteness would be as well, perhaps with gentle eyes, and a curly, bushy tail that wags in joy in anticipation of your appearance. And you might toss in a mutt-like mottled fur that seems to say, “I may not be beautiful, but you know that I love you and I need you.”

You needn’t bother trying. Lyudmila Trut and Dmitri Belyaev have already built it for you. The perfect dog. Except it’s not a dog, it’s a fox. A domesticated one. They built it quickly—mind-bogglingly fast for constructing a brand new biological creature. It took them less than 60 years, a blink of an eye compared to the time it took for wolves to become dogs. They built it in the often unbearable negative 40 degrees Fahrenheit cold of Siberia, where Lyudmila and, before her, Dmitri, have been running one of the longest, most incredible experiments on behavior and evolution ever devised.

Let us travel back to 1974. One clear, crisp spring morning, with the sun shining on the winter snow, Lyudmila moved into a little house on the edge of an experimental fox farm in Novosibirsk, Siberia, with an extraordinary little fox named Pushinka. Pushinka was a beautiful female with piercing black eyes, silver-tipped black fur, and a swatch of white running along her left cheek. She had recently passed her first birthday, and her tame behavior and dog-like ways of showing affection made her beloved by all at the fox farm. Lyudmila and her fellow scientist and mentor Dmitri Belyaev had decided that it was time to see whether Pushinka was so domesticated that she would be comfortable making the great leap to becoming truly domestic. Could this little fox actually live with people in a home?

Dugatkin_BREAKER_04
MAN’S BEST FRIEND: Lyudmila Trut with one of her beloved domesticated foxes.Vasily Kovaly

Dmitri Belyaev was a visionary scientist, a geneticist working in Russia’s vitally important commercial fur industry. Research in genetics was strictly prohibited at the time Belyaev began his career, and he had accepted his post in fur breeding because he could carry out studies under the cover of that work. Twenty-two years before Pushinka was born, he had launched an experiment that was unprecedented in the study of animal behavior. He began to breed tame foxes. He wanted to mimic the domestication of the wolf into the dog, with the silver fox, which is a close genetic cousin of the wolf, as a stand-in. If he could turn a fox into a dog-like animal, he might solve the long-standing riddle of how domestication comes about. Perhaps he would even discover important insights about human evolution; after all, we are, essentially, domesticated apes.

Fossils could provide clues about when and where the domestication of species had occurred, and a rough sense of the stages of change in the animals along the way. But they couldn’t explain how domestication got started in the first place. How had fierce wild animals, intensely averse to human contact, become docile enough for our human ancestors to have started breeding them? How had our own formidable wild ancestors started on the transition to being human? An experiment in real-time, to breed the wild out of an animal by mating the tamest among them, might provide the answers.

By far the most intense affection and loyalty forms between owners and dogs.

Belyaev’s plan for the experiment was audacious. The domestication of a species was thought to happen gradually, over thousands of years. How could he expect any significant results, even if the experiment ran for decades? And yet, here was a fox like Pushinka, who was so much like a dog that she came when her name was called and could be let out on the farm without a leash. She followed the workers around as they did their chores, and she loved going for walks with Lyudmila along the quiet country road that ran by the farm on the outskirts of Novosibirsk. And Pushinka was just one of the hundreds of affectionate foxes they had bred for tameness.

By moving into the house on the edge of the farm with Pushinka, Lyudmila was taking the fox experiment into unprecedented terrain. Their 15 years of genetic selection for tameness in their foxes had clearly paid off. Now, she and Belyaev wanted to discover whether by living with Lyudmila, Pushinka would develop the special bond with her that dogs have with their people. Except for house pets, most domesticated animals do not form close relationships with humans, and by far the most intense affection and loyalty forms between owners and dogs. What made the difference? Had that deep human-animal bond developed over a long time? Or might this affinity for people be a change that could emerge quickly, as with so many other changes Lyudmila and Belyaev had seen in the foxes already? Would living with a human come naturally to a fox that had been bred for tameness?…

more…

http://nautil.us/issue/50/emergence/how-we-really-tamed-the-dog

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Sands of time

Resultado de imagem para Photo by Chris Jordan from the series Midway: Message from the Gyre

Photo by Chris Jordan from the series Midway: Message from the Gyre

The North Sea is rich in signs of what made the modern world. It’s also a monument to what awaits us in the Anthropocene

by David Farrier is a senior lecturer in English literature at the University of Edinburgh, where his research interests include eco-criticism, postcolonial studies, and asylum and refugee contexts. He is currently working on a book about deep time in contemporary poetry. 

The red-veined rocks of Bohuslän in western Sweden have one of the highest concentrations of Bronze Age art in Europe. I was lucky enough to see the carvings during a recent October visit. The site was set back from a road, which marked where the shoreline of the North Sea would have been when the figures were first inscribed, between 2,500 and 4,000 years ago. The petroglyphs had since been painted pillar-box red so that they’d stand out for tourists, and the bright colours and wobbly lines looked like an enormous child’s drawing. But what the scene lacked in elegance it made up for in energy. Bowmen stalked antlered stags among a fleet of longships, flowing into a procession of bulls and thick-bodied giants teetering precariously atop spindly legs. Land and sea, human and animal, swam in and out of view.

Bronze Age rock art in Bohuslän, Sweden, assumed to depict the performance of a ritual. Photo courtesy Wikipedia.

I found myself trying to create a narrative, some sort of lost epic, as if I were deciphering a Bronze Age cartoon. We don’t know why these inscriptions were made, or what they were meant to say. The blunt-limbed figures give no clue about where such a story might begin, or where it might end. But perhaps that tangled quality is the petroglyphs’ real message. The longships speak of a culture closely aligned with the sea; the many animals point to a strong affinity with nature. Similar sites on the Cornish and Iberian peninsulas indicate that cultural influences travelled along what the Beowulf poet would later call the ‘whale roads’, the open waters that connected Bronze Age Scandinavia to the rest of Europe for the purposes of war and trade.

We live in a similarly entangled age, in which our consumption of fossil fuels, nitrogen fertilisers, the cobalt in our smartphones, antibiotics, and plastic all bind us to faraway times and places. The world of the Anthropocene is made from this dense web of relationships, each of which leaves its imprint on the world of the future. Two hundred generations of humans have lived and died since the Bohuslän petroglyphs were chipped out of the granite, but they remain urgent and vivid, the evidence of a living presence. In their silence, they pose certain questions. How and why do we navigate the currents of time and of matter to communicate with the deep future? Is it our intentional signs and symbols that leave the most lasting marks, or our unintentional traces?

Ilive and work in Edinburgh, on the lip of the North Sea. I’ve come to see these waters as a kind of Anthropocene laboratory, somewhere that lets us peer at the long-term impacts of the way we’re living now. Its past can tell us something of our future. As the Pangea supercontinent was breaking up 200 million years ago, ancient bacteria and microscopic plants were trapped in what would become the sea floor. Sediments gradually covered them over, and the immense pressure and heat from moving tectonic plates slowly converted this organic matter into the fossil fuels for which the region is now famous.

Until the end of the last Ice Age a vast plain linked Britain to continental Europe; evidence of human presence has been discovered in the form of stone hand axes, dredged up from the sea floor in the south. Then, around 11,700 years ago, the glaciers that once smothered the British Isles in sheets of ice up to 2km thick began to melt, and the North Sea slowly emerged in its present shape – a shallow basin, edged by a deep trench where the sea meets the crenellated coast of Norway…

more…

https://aeon.co/essays/the-north-sea-is-a-sign-of-what-awaits-in-the-anthropocene

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