1st Edition

In the Shadow of Animals What Sapiens Can Learn by Studying Other Living Things

Edited By Michael Hehenberger Copyright 2024
    384 Pages 62 Color & 50 B/W Illustrations
    by Jenny Stanford Publishing

    What differentiates humans from other living beings is our ability to communicate, our complex reasoning, and our use of skilled hands and smart brains to build houses, cities, and societies. We are able to learn. We penetrate into the unknown. We dominate our planet. For thousands of years, we have learned to live close to animals. By bending some species to our will, we now can drink their milk, eat their eggs and meat, use their fur, and employ their power to grow our crops. As we are gaining a more complete understanding of our physiology, we are observing that we are not so different from them and other life forms. By studying them, we can sharpen our senses, treat diseases, and overcome some of our weaknesses. By observing their unique capabilities, we invent ways to emulate their performances in areas where evolution has helped them excel. Animals have helped us build our human culture and civilization. We still take advantage of them, even push them back into ever more restricted habitats. We are now at risk to forget that Sapiens’ only way to thrive, and planet Earth to survive, will be to humbly accept our place in the "shadow of animals."

    This book explains how various animals have adapted to extreme conditions, and why humans need animals and should protect them. It helps to better understand "life on our planet" and the place of Homo sapiens among other living beings. It is a restructured version of the author’s previous book Our Animal Connection and is more accessible for two reasons—streamlined and simplified text in all chapters and highly technical portions moved to Appendices A and B. Compared to the previous book, this book has several chapters enhanced and an added chapter on "octopus." Chapters that are presented in detail categorize animals in three ways—5 genetic and 4 biomedical model organisms that have been studied to understand their and human physiology; 9 animals that have been used to improve human health; 16 animals chosen for their exceptional capabilities and associated promise to have an impact on human performance. To the author’s knowledge, there is no such other book in this field. It is a popular presentation of the human–animal relationship for young readers who are interested in science and the future of our planet. It is an easy read for high school and university students as well as provides materials that will stimulate scientific discussions, and hopefully, will develop respect for scientific facts.


    Homo sapiens: Strengths and Weaknesses



    What Humans can learn by studying Animals

    A. Human Knowledge derived from Genomic Model Organisms

    B. Human Knowledge derived from Biomedical Model Organisms

    Fruit Fly (Drosophila melanogaster)

    Mouse (Mus musculus)

    California Sea Slug (Aplysia californica)

    The Zebrafish (Danio Rerio)

    Human Health Benefits

    The Domestic Pig (Sus Domesticus)

    The Elephant (Loxodonta africana and Elephas maximus)

    Naked Mole Rat (Heterocephalus glaber)

    The Jellyfish (Scyphozoa, etc.)

    The Cone Snail (Conus magus, etc.)

    The Komodo Dragon (Varanus komodoensis)

    The Gila Monster (Heloderma suspectum)

    The Salamander (Urodela)

    The Burmese Python (Python bivittatus)

    Human Performance benefits

    The Atlantic Bay Scallop (Argopecten irradians / Pectinidae)

    The Owl (Strigiformes)

    The Pit Vipers (Crotalinae)

    The Vampire Bat (Desmodus rotundus)

    Electric Eel (Electrophorus electricus) and Ghost Knifefish (Apteronotidae)

    The Dolphin (Cetacea / Delphinidae, etc.)

    The Octopus (Cephalopoda)

    Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

    The Peregrine Falcon (Falco peregrinus)

    The Bar-headed goose (Anser indicus)

    The Wild Yak (Bos mutus) and Domestic Yak (Bos grunniens)

    The Penguins (Sphenisciformes)

    The Polar Bear (Ursus maritimus)

    The Cheetah (Acinonyx jubatus)

    The Dog (Canis lupus familiaris)

    The Platypus (Ornithorhynchus anatinus)


    Appendix A: Evolution of Life on Earth

    What is Life?

    How did life evolve on planet Earth?


    Sexual Adaptations

    Appendix B: Genetic Engineering

    DNA and -OMICS


    Appendix C: Metric versus US Customary Units


    Michael Hehenberger retired in 2013 after a 28-year-long association with IBM. Currently, he writes books and speaks at conferences. He earned advanced degrees in physics from Vienna University of Technology, Austria, and quantum chemistry from Uppsala University, Sweden. He was a visiting associate professor of quantum theory at the University of Florida, USA, before he joined IBM in 1985. Throughout his IBM career in Stockholm, Paris, San Jose (CA), and New York, he worked on computational chemistry, biology, and engineering and led partnerships with academic and industrial life sciences organizations. They focused on molecular biology, information-based medicine, pharmaceutical research, nanomedicine, and AI. Dr Hehenberger’s first book Nanomedicine: Science, Business, and Impact covers both the underlying science and the steps needed to take a new biomedical breakthrough all the way from concept to patient benefit. His recent presentations at international conferences included talks on "Big Data Analytics," "AI: History and Possible Future," "Quantum Information and Computing," and "High Mountain Adaptations in Humans and Animals."