When the fossil fragments were found and identified, there was almost disbelief that camels, normally associated with desert, could have survived the freezing winters, heavy snow storms and lack of sunlight in the region, but when the characteristics of a camel were considered it was soon realised that its hump, used to store fat, would have helped its forebears survive the bitter cold, its large eyes would have enabled them to see in low light and their flat feet would have helped the walk across snow as well desert sand. Natural history has been re-written because assumptions have been questioned and overturned.
It is a human habit to see everything in our life and around us literally, at "face value" as they say, and we miss so much when we do. I was fascinated to learn, recently, that different creatures on Earth see their world, a world we share, very differently from us or the other planetary inhabitants: certain fish, for example see their underwater home in terms of colour and sound relating to their feeding ground and breeding areas; bees see their world in terms of magnetic grids linking prime pollen sources; and bats use line patterns from hedgerows and trees where strong colonies of insects gather. You and I, instead, tend to be three dimensional and to see the blanket picture without seeking out what is important, and if we were to learn to observe the subliminal but significant messages which underpin all we experience, as our fellow travellers do, our lives would be much richer.
I wonder what the camels in the Arctic saw? I do not know, but I am sure it was what, for them, was important. Perhaps it is time for you and me, too, to see and do what matters.]]>