But it also traces the study of aspects of biodiversity back as far as Aristotle.
This article has been cited by other articles in PMC. Durkheim built upon the work of the English jurist William Wynn Westcott and the Italian psychiatrist Enrico Morselli, who both perceived suicide as a social phenomenon.
Instances where animals seemingly killed themselves, he continued, may be quite differently explained. If the irritated scorpion pierces itself with its sting which is not at all certain it is probably from an automatic, unreflecting reaction.
The motive energy caused by his irritation is discharged by chance and at random; the creature happens to become its victim, though it cannot be said to have had a preconception of the result of its action. Yet why did he even engage with the issue, if only to dismiss it?
Answering this question draws our attention to a hitherto neglected aspect of the history of suicide. While it may seem obvious to many that suicide is a uniquely human act, this belief has a history; and it is a history built upon reflections on the natural world.
In order to present suicide as uniquely human, Durkheim had to discuss the seemingly deficient animal mind. In doing so, he engaged in a rhetorical ploy common to many treatises on suicide, which elevate humans above animals on account of their ability consciously to reflect upon life and death, and then choose self-destruction.
Esther Cohen, Erica Fudge, Keith Thomas and others have shown how medieval, early modern and Enlightenment authorities distinguished humans from the natural world by representing animals as insensate and irrational. By arguing that animals did not intentionally kill themselves, Durkheim was not simply establishing the boundaries of his inquiry.
He was also seeking to refute contemporary writers who problematized the anthropocentric world view by arguing that animals did commit suicide. Charting these arguments in favour of the existence of animal suicide, we believe, provides a window onto a most enduring and potent challenge to human exceptionalism.
In this article, we first outline how support for belief in animal suicide reflected, and linked, social and scientific concerns during the late nineteenth century.
Advocates included anti-cruelty campaigners and medical reformers, who sought to inculcate sympathy for both man and beast, and supporters of evolution by common descent, who endorsed continuity between the animal and human minds.
We show how these writers, who included psychiatrists and psychologists, claimed that animals and humans both possessed the ability to consciously plan and execute their own deaths.
We then show how there was a shift in focus from the late nineteenth century onwards. We will examine how a shift from suicide viewed as an individual and intentional act, to a complex of self-destructive behaviours determined by various social and biological forces, was influenced by the growing importance of the animal laboratory to the study of population dynamics and psychopathology.
While attempts to induce suicide in laboratory animals in the nineteenth century were used to dismiss anthropomorphic anecdotes about animals dying in defiance, anger or grief, laboratory studies promoted the understanding of behaviour in terms of mechanical and physiological responses to stimuli.
By the mid twentieth century, a zoomorphic perspective had not only become paradigmatic in fields that investigated the animal mind and behaviour, such as psychology, but also influenced work in psychiatry and population studies. Scholars in these fields now interpreted self-destructive behaviour, in humans and animals, in terms of innate and unconscious responses to social and ecological pressures.
In our final section, we explore how the ecological study of lemming behaviour dovetailed with an emergent field of experimental psychiatry, which sought to provide the study of psychopathology with a rigorous scientific basis. Together, they promoted stress models of suicide among humans and animals.
It was through the concept of stress, we argue, that long-standing divisions were overcome and tensions resolved: Popular accounts generally concerned animals that intentionally ended their lives to escape hopeless danger or human mistreatment.
Prominent among these was the scorpion, which, when ringed with fire and faced with no means of escape, was said to kill itself by thrusting its sting into its own back. Like other Romantics, Byron portrayed suicide as a natural and heroic act, and regularly asserted his kinship with animals.
With clear human inference, he outlined how endangered scorpions intentionally chose self-destruction: But the scorpion was by no means the only suicidal animal to feature in popular debates during the nineteenth century.
But this was not the case with the growing number of reports that circulated during the s and s. These brought together a number of concerns in late nineteenth-century Britain. They reflected, on the one hand, the efforts of anti-cruelty campaigners who sought to improve human behaviour towards animals by showing that humans and animals possessed similar emotional and intellectual capacities.
InThe Animal World reported a case of stag suicide on the south coast, with an accompanying illustration see Plate 1and criticized the presentation of blood sports as a noble pastime that was enjoyed equally by the hunting dogs and their quarry. Cornered by ferocious dogs, the stag chose its fate.
· THE HUMAN SPECIES IS like the mythical giant Antaeus, who drew strength from contact with his mother, Gaea, the goddess Earth, and used it to challenge and defeat all corners.
Hercules, learning his secret, lifted and held Antaeus above the ground until the giant weakened--then crushed grupobittia.com://grupobittia.com Applying the same statistical approach to extinction data revealed a rate of to 1, species lost per million per year, mostly due to human-caused habitat .
Homo sapiens, Neanderthals and other recent human relatives may have begun hunting large mammal species down to size -- by way of extinction -- at least 90, years earlier than previously.
· Mass extinction could conceivably come to pass without jeopardizing the survival of the human species; and because people might be materially sustained by a technologically biora made to yield services and products required for human life (Crist ).grupobittia.com Other human activities that accelerate species extinction include introduction of nonnative species, poaching, and illegal trade in rare species.
Extermination usually refers to the deliberate destruction of populations of a given species. · Tts not talking about species extinction, but a diminution of the number of extant animals in each species.
That in turn is driven by human population increase grupobittia.com