Read The Tribe of Tiger: Cats and Their Culture by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas Free Online
Book Title: The Tribe of Tiger: Cats and Their Culture|
The author of the book: Elizabeth Marshall Thomas
ISBN 13: 9780783811697
Edition: Thorndike Press
Date of issue: December 31st 1995
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 24.87 MB
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Reader ratings: 4.3
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What is tremendously interesting about this book is the viewpoint it is written from. Generally anthropological books and documentaries are the work of men and reflect a male point of view in everything. However, since we never see another side we accept that this is an 'objective' look at the species in question.
Elizabeth Marshall Thomas, daughter of anthropologists herself and therefore schooled in the scientific method from birth (her upbringing was generally with whomever her parents were studying) sees things in a different light. Just to give one example. Lions. We all are taught that male lions are great big fearsome creatures who when they find a pride of lionesses that they like the look of, they just move on in, fighting the dominant male (if there is one) until he runs off and the sisters just accept they have a new master.
Does this really make sense? Lionesses, three or four sisters hunting together, couldn't bring down a single male if they didn't like the look of him? Of course they could and do. What appeals to lionesses in lions seems to be primarily two things.
One he should be very good in bed as lionesses like a lot of extended sex and are multi-orgasmic. They do not like quickies and tend to turn their heads and bite the lion's neck if he is not performing to their satisfaction. They allow him 'off the job' for a refreshing drink of water, but that's it, until they've had enough.
Secondly, he must be an extremely good babysitter. That's his job in life. Male lions babysit. They are portrayed as lazy creatures who have no need to work at hunting as the females do that and bring back the kill for him to feast first. And so they do. But he is home babysitting, protecting the little ones from all predators and harm.
If he's good at babysitting and a great stud, he stays. Otherwise, the lionesses can happily do without a lion until one turns up they rather fancy.
One thing that is very disturbing though but only to my human nature, not to lion nature, is that when a lion is accepted by the females into a pride, he kills (and eats) the cubs not sired by him.
It's a brilliant book. I read it many years ago but. like all Elizabeth Marshall Thomas's books, her profound insights remain fresh with me and cause me to question the overwhelmingly patriarchal David Attenborough wildlife documentaries and some of the ethological books I read.
On the island I live on, farming is considered letting the animals loose and they all live lovely lives wandering around doing as they please and eating your garden (unless you fence it off and have a cattle grid), it's all very organic. The generally held view is that bulls are dominant and dangerous and cows aren't. It is exactly the opposite. Bulls are only dangerous if they kept alone. Even in a bull ring they have to be stuck with knives on the end of spears to goad them, otherwise they'd probably just stand there.
Bulls are family men. They do like to be the herd. Keep them alone and they get upset. Young bulls will always run from people (at least here), they are very sweet but cowardly. Cows rarely run, and if you have a dog with you and they have calves they are threatening and dangerous. One or two cows together in your garden you can get to move off. More than that, even if there are bulls in the pack and they just sit down, chewing grass and staring insolently. They know there is nothing you can do, there are too many of them.
I once saw a bull and cow in love. The cow, was the leader of the herd (it is always a cow) and they used to stand very close to each other and rub their flanks together, they were never separated. I used to drive past them every day taking my son to school and saw them most weeks for years.
Love didn't just start with people, nor is it something a pet animal feels just for people or it's young, it's come down to us as being part of a couple, something evolutionary. It's a nice thought that. A long chain of love stretching back to... I wonder in which creatures it started?
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Read information about the authorElizabeth Marshall Thomas is the author of The Harmless People, a non fiction work about the Kung Bushmen of southwestern Africa, and of Reindeer Moon, a novel about the paleolithic hunter gatherers of Siberia, both of which were tremendous international successes. She lives in New Hampshire.
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