Seeing is believing

Local | Georgina Noyce 17 Sep 2019

In my youth, many, many moons ago, if we wanted to find something out, we went the route of 1, ask a parent or older sibling; 2, ask a teacher; 3, go to the library; and, if very desperate, 4, ask a schoolmate.

These days, we all seem to dive straight for the internet and sadly, because it is there in print, take whatever it says as "the truth and nothing but the truth."

If you ask a parent or teacher, you rely on their advanced years to know more than you. Go to the library and the assumption is that if someone has gone to the trouble and expense of printing a book, they must know what they are talking about.

Your mates are always good for a laugh with, either their opinions, or complete lack of answers, of course.

So, how reliable is the story of geese flying over Mount Everest, which is almost 9,000 meters high. Science has proved that it is quite possible that climbers have, in fact, seen geese over the peak, because the geese are able to cool their veins to allow them to breathe at altitude.

As for the tales of two-headed snakes, alligators and sundry reptiles, in the not-so-distant past, this phenomenon was always hearsay.

Now of course with the ubiquity of cameras and travelers, two-headed reptiles turn up all over the place, caught on camera like the rest of the natural world. The fact that these mutations rarely survive might be why most still consider them a myth.

Stories of the weird, and sometimes downright impossible, appear all over the internet, stories posted tongue-in-cheek, or all too often these days, with the intention of seeing just how much is believed by the rest of the world.

Mythical beasts have been claimed all over the world and even when science disproves some of the wilder stories, conspiracy theorists try to make compelling cases as to why science works so hard to debunk them.

Having seen unlikely animal relationships with my own eyes, I am quite comfortable with the idea that a wild lioness might nurse a leopard cub. Or a cat nurse a gaggle of baby hedgehogs. Or a monkey care for a human baby. Dogs caring for birds.

Cats protecting chicks or ducklings and Amber cat politely catching and eating the spider on Molly mongrel's tail.

Georgina Noyce is an equestrian judge, and has a menagerie of adopted four-legged waifs and strays.

gnoyce2009@gmail.com

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