Aping the apes
Editorial

Aping the apes

Planet earth’s age has been determined chemically to be 4.5 billion years. Human beings have inhabited the planet for about 2,00,000 years, according to anthropologists. All other life forms have a much longer tenancy of the only planet playing host to living creatures. The processes of change-progress-development credited to the ingenuity of human beings contrast with the way the rest of life forms have remained the same. Here begins the saga of conflict between the two reaching the present scenario of earth’s ecological devastation, again (dis)credited to human species. Taking stock of the expanding human population both globally and country-wise over time in numerical terms has lately witnessed the act of counting some selected species of  life forms, particularly the denizens of the forest, popularly perceived and identified as wildlife. One such species that was bestowed attention was the ape, described by biologists as a branch of tailless primates native to Africa and South East Asia.

A report in a section of the press published last week says that the country’s lone gorilla, an ape named Polo, died four years ago in Mysuru Zoo and the search for its replacement is on. Globally, the headcount of gorilla is estimated at 1,000, a number that pales into nothing compared to the headcount of human beings across the planet. Clearly, human beings have grossly outnumbered all other creatures, except obviously the microbes. The question is: How to undo the imbalance in the ecology on planet earth?

The more one studies the interactions among the life forms, particularly between the human beings and the rest, in the backdrop of environment, the more one realises the dominant role of humans in causing the ecological imbalance through the process of development at the cost of the habitats of other species. Human beings may have been better off if only inventions such as the gun and the rest of the weaponry in common use never happened. We talk of deaths due to snakebite and jumbo attacks forgetting the unedifying act of causing extinction of growing numbers of birds and beasts. Apes score high because they mind their own business as it were. They don’t kill, they don’t chop trees, they don’t produce and use plastic bags, they don’t cheat and not to forget, they don’t do politics based on religion or caste.

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Some may dismiss prescribing the ape as a role model to human beings as preposterous, but considering the fact of all-too-clear consequences of development, human beings may last longer on earth by aping the ape.

June 5, 2018

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