II. Giants and Dwarfs: A Study of Growth

Harvey Sutton


Human beings seem to be in the middle of a world of living things, some of which are giants like the giant whales weighing fifty tons, and so large that an elephant or a giraffe could find room inside them. In the very early days of the world giant lizards (dinosaurs) existed, ninety feet from nose-tip to tail; their skeletons still exist in a fossil state, turned many, many ages ago into stone. The largest living thing is one of the great trees like our Eucalyptus, over 400 feet in height and forty feet or more around the base of the trunk ; on the other hand some living things are so extremely small so that even using a microscope magnifying 2,000 times they can only just be seen, while some are invisible, though we know of their presence in large numbers (viruses). These giant lizards were tremendous creatures, but seem to have been killed off thousands of years ago. Why? Probably they became too specialised; that is, very limited in action and very specially built for this action, so that when some great climatic change came (very hot and dry conditions, or very wet and cold), they could not adapt themselves, and perished. The human skeleton, especially the limbs, are much less specialised than is the case with many other animals. Our arm, wrist and fingers are more like those of a frog than are the limbs of a dog or horse. The horse walks on his toenails (hoofs); and his legs, especially from the knee down, are altered to suit great speed. Man's adaptability gives him the power to live over a more extensive area of the globe than most if not all other animals.

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