What shall we say of the intelligence, not to say religion, of those who are so particular to distinguish between fishes and reptiles and birds, but put a man with an immortalsoul inthesame circlewiththewolf, thehyena, and theskunk? What must betheimpressionmadeupon children by such a degradation of man?WilliamJennings Bryan: Statement issued in Dayton, Tennessee, 28 Jul1925, by Mrs W J Bryan, shortly after the endof the Scopes trial and her husband's death.
Among the smaller islands there is one of fair size that is now called the Isle of Man There was a great controversy in antiquity concerning the question: to which of the two countries should the island properly belong? Eventually, however, the matter was settled. All agreed that since it allowed poisonous reptiles to live in it, it should belong to Britain.1185 The History and Topography of Ireland, pt.2 (translated by John J O'Meara,1951).
If we and the rest of the backboned animals were to disappear overnight, the rest of the world would get on pretty well. But if they were to disappear, the land's ecosystems would collapse. The soil would lose its fertility. Many of the plants would no longer be pollinated. Lots of animals, amphibians, reptiles, birds, mammals would have nothing to eat. And our fields and pastures would be covered with dung and carrion. These small creatures are within a few inches of our feet, wherever we go on land – but often, they're disregarded. We would do very well to remember them.david attenborough: Closing lines
Reptiles and amphibians are sometimes thought of as primitive, dull and dimwitted. In fact, of course, they can be lethally fast, spectacularly beautiful, surprisingly affectionate and very sophisticated.david attenborough: Opening words
Reptiles and amphibians are sometimes seen as simple, primitive creatures. That's a long way from the truth. The fact that they are solar-powered means that their bodies require only 10% of the energy that mammals of a similar size require. At a time when we ourselves are becoming increasingly concerned about the way in which we get our energy from the environment and the wasteful way in which we use it, maybe there are things that we can learn from "life in cold blood."david attenborough: Closing lines
The man who never alters his opinion is like standing water, and breeds reptiles of the mind.william blake: A Memorable Fancy
The Age of Reptiles ended because it had gone on long enough and it was all a mistake in the first place. A better day was dawning at the close of the Mesozoic Era. There were some little warm-blooded animals around which had been stealing and eating the eggs of the Dinosaurs, and they were gradually learning to steal other things, too. Civilization was just around the corner.will cuppy: The Dinosaur
During the Cretaceous Period many of the inland seas dried up, leaving the Plesiosaurs stranded without any fish. Just about that time Mother Nature scrapped the whole Age of Reptiles and called for a new deal. And you can see what she got. [Footnote: Here we see the working of another Law of Nature: No water, no fish.]will cuppy: The Plesiosaur
"I think we can all agree with Mr. Henninger's flawless logic. If a woman in India marries a snake, gay people in America should have to justify it. But here's where Henninger and I part ways. I don't see gay marriage as a slippery slope down to people marrying snakes. I see marrying snakes as a step up the slope from gay marriage. Hear me out! No! I've got no problem with people marrying snakes--as long as they're not marrying gay snakes. We must marry limbless reptiles of the opposite sex. Otherwise it's just unnatural."dan henninger: Steven Colbert (Host). (2006, June 20). The Colbert Report. New York: Comedy Central.
Luxury spreads its ample board before their eyes; but they are excluded from the banquet. Plenty revels over the fields; but they are starving in the midst of its abundance: the whole wilderness has blossomed into a garden; but they feel as reptiles that infest it.washington irving: "Traits of Indian Character".
I askt the seas and all the deeps below My God to know, I askt the reptiles, and whatever is In the abyss; Even from the shrimps to the leviathan Enquiry ran; But in those deserts that no line can sound The God I sought for was not to be found.Thomas Heywood, Searching after God.
My brother and I became seriously interested in the problem of human flight in 1899 ... We knew that men had by common consent adopted human flight as the standard of impossibility. When a man said, “It can’t be done; a man might as well try to fly,” he was understood as expressing the final limit of impossibility. Our own growing belief that man might nevertheless learn to fly was based on the idea that while thousands of the most dissimilar body structures, such as insects, fish, reptiles, birds and mammals, were flying every day at pleasure, it was reasonable to suppose that man might also fly... We accordingly decided to write to the Smithsonian Institution and inquire for the best books relating to the subject.... Contrary to our previous impression, we found that men of the very highest standing in the profession of science and invention had attempted to solve the problem... But one by one, they had been compelled to confess themselves beaten, and had discontinued their efforts. In studying their failures we found many points of interest to us.At that time there was no flying art in the proper sense of the word, but only a flying problem. Thousands of men had thought about flying machines and a few had even built machines which they called flying machines, but these were guilty of almost everything except flying. Thousands of pages had been written on the so-called science of flying, but for the most part the ideas set forth, like the designs for machines, were mere speculations and probably ninety per cent was false. Consequently those who tried to study the science of aerodynamics knew not what to believe and what not to believe. Things which seemed reasonable were often found to be untrue, and things which seemed unreasonable were sometimes true. Under this condition of affairs students were accustomed to pay little attention to things that they had not personally tested.wilbur wright: Civil-suit deposition against the Herring-Curtiss Company (1909), reported in The Dayton News (31 May 1912)
Physical evils are in nature inseparable from animal life, they commenced existence with it, and are its concomitants through life; so that the same nature which gives being to the one, gives birth to the other also; the one is not before or after the other, but they are coexistent together, and contemporaries; and as they began existence in a necessary dependance on each other, so they terminate together in death and dissolution. This is the original order to which animal nature is subjected, as applied to every species of it. The beasts of the field, the fowls of the air, the fishes of the sea, with reptiles, and all manner of beings, which are possessed with animal life; nor is pain, sickness, or mortality any part of God's Punishment for sin. On the other hand sensual happiness is no part of the reward of virtue: to reward moral actions with a glass of wine or a shoulder of mutton, would be as inadequate, as to measure a triangle with sound, for virtue and vice pertain to the mind, and their merits or demerits have their just effects on the conscience, as has been before evinced: but animal gratifications are common to the human race indiscriminately, and also, to the beasts of the field: and physical evils as promiscuously and universally extend to the whole, so "That there is no knowing good or evil by all that is before us, for all is vanity." It was not among the number of possibles, that animal life should be exempted from mortality: omnipotence itself could not have made it capable of externalization and indissolubility; for the self same nature which constitutes animal life, subjects it to decay and dissolution; so that the one cannot be without the other, any more than there could be a compact number of mountains without valleys, or that I could exist and not exist at the same time, or that God should effect any other contradiction in nature...ethan allen: Ch. III Section IV - Of Physical Evils
I am a monarch of God 's creation, and you reptiles of the earth dare not oppose me. I render an account of my government to none save God and Jesus Christ .napoleon bonaparte: Addressing members of the Catholic clergy assembled during ‘Bonaparte's Conference with the Catholic and Protestant clergy at Breda,’ May 1, 1810 (originally reported in the Gazette of Dorpt), as quoted in The life of Napoleon Bonaparte, emperor of the French: with a preliminary view of the French revolution, Sir Walter Scott, Philadelphia: Leary & Getz, 1857, p. 91Variant translation: God placed me on the throne, and you reptiles of the earth dare oppose me. I owe no account of my administration to the pope,— only to God and Jesus Christ.As quoted in The Christian Observer, Volume 10, 1861, p. 261
Some of my friends have urged me to tell people the basic story, but "for God’s sake don’t mention the reptiles."david icke: The Biggest Secret, ch. 1
As non-scientists, most gardeners deprived of atomic-ray spectrometers, a battery of reagents, and a few million research dollars must look to signs of health such as the birds, reptiles, worms, and plants of their garden-farm. For myself, in a truly natural garden I have come to expect to see, hear, and find evidence of abundant vertebrate life. This, and this alone, assures me that invertebrates still thrive there. I know of many farms where neither birds nor worms exist, and I suspect that their products are dangerous to all life forms.bill mollison: chapter 8.12
Few will doubt that humankind has created a planet-sized problem for itself. No one wished it so, but we are the first species to become a geophysical force, altering Earth's climate, a role previously reserved for tectonics, sun flares, and glacial cycles. We are also the greatest destroyer of life since the ten-kilometer-wide meteorite that landed near Yucatan and ended the Age of Reptiles sixty-five million years ago. Through overpopulation we have put ourselves in danger of running out of food and water. So a very Faustian choice is upon us: whether to accept our corrosive and risky behavior as the unavoidable price of population and economic growth, or to take stock of ourselves and search for a new environmental ethic.e. o. wilson: p. 277-278 (Ch.5 Aggression)
Phenomena appear, in a word, to be explicable on the ground of development . We have already seen that various leading animal forms represent stages in the embryotic progress of the highest the human being. Our brain goes through the various stages of a fish's, a reptile's, and a mammifer's brain, and finally becomes human.p.306 (Vestiges of the Natural History of Creation (1844))
After much thought, I can come up with no other animal whose reputation is so at odds with the reality, not even the rat, which, despite widespread dislike, has many admirers, and apparently makes a charming pet. Hyenas are not reptiles or invertebrates - the usual kinds of creatures that incite widespread disgust - but are furry, warm-blooded animals that nurse their young (and, in this, there are parallels between our feelings about the hyena and our feelings about other ambiguous carnivores, such as the jackal and the wolf ). Surely very few of those people who claim to despise hyenas can have lived through a traumatic encounter with one, even at a zoo. And why are hyenas so reviled when in many respects they look very similar to dogs, which are widely beloved? Most people's aversion to hyenas, clearly, has less to do with real hyenas than the context in which they are generally depicted, the misinformation that circulates about their habits and - as with rats and bats - the things they are associated it.Brottman, Mikita (2012), Hyena, Reaktion Books.
Few will doubt that humankind has created a planet-sized problem for itself. No one wished it so, but we are the first species to become a geophysical force, altering Earth's climate, a role previously reserved for tectonics, sun flares, and glacial cycles. We are also the greatest destroyer of life since the ten-kilometer-wide meteorite that landed near Yucatan and ended the Age of Reptiles sixty-five million years ago. Through overpopulation we have put ourselves in danger of running out of food and water. So a very Faustian choice is upon us: whether to accept our corrosive and risky behavior as the unavoidable price of population and economic growth, or to take stock of ourselves and search for a new environmental ethic.E. O. Wilson Consilience: The Unity of Knowledge (1998) p. 277-278