(Roughly) Daily

“The Quaker loves an ample brim, / A hat that bows to no salaam; / And dear the beaver is to him / As if it never made a dam”*…

Leila Philip on the evolutionary puzzles and unfathomable intelligence of earth’s rodent-engineers…

I think there is an element of the sacred in the beaver, if only in its deep weirdness. One million years ago, beavers the size of bears roamed North America. They pose an evolutionary puzzle, like the platypus, or birds, which share some DNA with dinosaurs. When they dive, they seem more like marine mammals than terrestrial species, more seal than rodent. Their dexterous forepaws look startlingly human with their five nimble fingers and naked palms. They groom their lustrous fur with catlike fastidiousness. Their mammalian beauty ends abruptly in the gooselike hind feet, each as wide as the beaver’s head. The feet are followed by a reptilian tail, which, it has been observed, looks like the result of some terrible accident, run over by a tractor tire, the treads leaving a pattern of indentations that resemble scales.

Part bear, part bird, part monkey, part lizard, humanoid hands, an aquatic tail. Is it any surprise that beavers have fired the human imagination in every continent that they are found?…

Part Bear, Part Bird, Part Monkey, Part Lizard: On the Deep Weirdness of Beavers,” from @theleilaphilip in @lithub.

Thomas Hood

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As we get busy, we might recall that it was on this date in 1928 that former concert violinist and proprietor of the One-In-Hand Tie Company of Clinton, Iowa, Joseph W. Less, introduced the modern clip-on tie.

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Written by (Roughly) Daily

December 13, 2022 at 1:00 am

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