Sunday, August 30, 2009

"Cats" on NatGeo (In and Out)

Tonight, National Geographic Channel presented a particularly interesting segment of “In the Womb” – that is “Cats”, like the Broadway musical. There was no McCavity, but there the one hour documentary showed fantastic footage of the developing house cats (septuplets) and developing lions (triplets), the latter in a wildlife preserve. The link is here.

The show went into details as to how cats, as mammals, differ from humans, and as to how lions differ from house cats. All cats derive from a common ancestor about 10 million years ago.

The most important difference is social. Lions are the only cats that live in family groups or prides, with a social structure with some analogy to wolves. The “hyper-individualism” model (cats) vs. “family” (dogs) contrast is very important in the mammal world. It’s also very important in the “people-world” culture wars: the individualist believes he can choose all his emotional commitments.

The cat and kitten footage, in and out, is spectacular.

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