Spend a little time in the company of animals, even the ones stretched out on the bottom of your bed, and you’ll start to see the world differently. Look into their eyes and try to think what they’re thinking. It’s impossible, of course, which is what makes it so compelling. Whatever else we discover, however close we come to understanding the inner workings of the universe, we’ll never, ever know what it feels like to live life as a cat, still less an ant, or a starfish.
Animals have fired our imaginations like nothing else, not God, not the weather, not other humans. From the first moment we discovered we could daub shapes on cave walls, we’ve been painting, writing and thinking about them. The magical rituals of hunter-gatherer peoples, their creation myths and healing practices are all one long dialogue with the animal kingdom. To take on the power of an animal - the sight of an eagle, the speed of an antelope, the strength of a lion - these were the original superpowers. Most animals are still tirelessly exercising the same skills they’ve done for millennia. As a species, we’re very new kids on a very old block.
|—||John Mitchinson & John Lloyd, The QI Book of Animal Ignorance|