The whole of last week, I had this opportunity to research and collate some startling facts for a booklet that would thrill both adults and children alike.
As I dug deeper into earth history, it didn’t take long to realise that what’s startling to one person might just be plain insipid to another—as these are highly subjective to our own way of thinking and our perception of the world around us. However, I do believe that there are some of these facts that you will also find humbling, just as I did.
We humans, perhaps the most marvellous achievement of the universe, have arrogated to ourselves the power to eliminate all other life forms at will. But, as Bill Bryson’s ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’ says, there had been billions of other species that thrived at the simplest and astonishingly complex levels before we came. We have only inherited the endless treasures of this wonderful planet and have no right whatsoever to eliminate anything from the face of this earth. The relationship modern humans have shared with Mother Earth is just about 0.0001 per cent of earth history!
Here’s a rather amusing fact is about human individuality. While we spend a lot of our time and effort and money to just express our individuality and uniqueness in everything we do/don’t do, scientific studies have revealed that your genes and another human being’s are, on an average, 99.9% the same. The phrase that is most appealing to every one of us—‘I am different’; this most powerful idea that has built nations—individuality; can be attributed only 0.1% of our genes!
And one more thing. We humans lug around about 35-40 thousand genes. So does grass!
In fact, we are actually very close to fruits and vegetables, says Bryson. Example: “…about half the chemical functions that take place in a banana are fundamentally the same as the chemical functions that take place in you”.
Well, while refusing to let go of my human superiority to this fruit without a fight, I would say, despite all the similarity of chemical functions we share with bananas, we are the ones who enjoy the simple luxury of sitting by the table and picking that fruit up to eat!
Happy New Year!