Table of Contents - Volume 8, number 4 (December 2003) - 24 pages
As modern humans nearly all of us receive “potty training” at a young age. Although most of us don’t remember the actual lessons, our parents taught us a socially acceptable method for eliminating solid waste when living among others.
Some ancient societies recognized the nutrient value of excreta, and used it as fertilizer for crop land. Others saw it as a health hazard or an annoyance that must be gotten rid of. Around 2500 BC, in Mohenjodaro, Pakistan, there existed a drainage system that carried waste water from each house into a main drain.
When pulled tight, this figure represents ‘Excrement’ according to the people of the Gilbert Islands (Kiribati). Readers can use their imagination to guess what the ring and the merged double loops represent.
Woodpeckers are birds that cling to tree trunks and create holes in the wood with their beaks. These woodland birds are found throughout most of the world with the exception of Australia and Madagascar. Their drumming serves several purposes. Pecking is their way of searching for sap, or insects under bark. They also hollow out cavities to form nests in dead trees. The sound they make announces their presence in a territory. Sometimes woodpeckers will drum on metal because it makes a louder sound than drumming on wood.
This string game is formed on the feet. When the player separates his hands, his right leg is freed and the left leg becomes snared by the string.
The rapid transfers represent the flitting movements of a woodpecker.
The elephant appears with its tail and trunk on either thumb. We can easily see the elephant’s four legs and torso.
The figure is subsequently transformed into the elephant ears.
Today there are only two species of elephants remaining: African and Indian. The African elephant is larger. Other species of elephants, such as the mammoth and mastodon, have become extinct. Elephants have no natural enemies other than humans. Unfortunately, they are prized for the food they provide and their ivory tusks. In the early 1900’s there were 5 to 10 million elephants. Currently, it has been estimated that only 500,000 African elephants and 16,000 Asian elephants remain.
The elephant lays dead with all four feet up in the air. Its tail and trunk are on each little finger.
Dead Elephant is subsequently transformed into another figure. Here we see the hunter’s trophy…the ivory tusks on the elephant’s head.
Some fish are known to jump out of water. The 4-foot-long, 70-pound Asian carp — known along the Mississippi River as the “jumping fish” — grow agitated at the sound of motors and leap out of the water, enabling anyone with strong arms and a big net to literally catch them right out of the air. Salmon also exhibit this behavior but no one is really sure why. It has been observed that salmon jump less when water is cold. Swordfish are powerful jumpers. This jumping, also called breaching, is thought by some researchers to be an effort to dislodge pests.
The hanging loop in the middle of the figure represents a fish. To make the fish jump, 1 and 2 snap their string taut by moving hands apart, then they relax their string by bringing the hands together slightly.
Certain fish can live out of water. The northern snakehead fish is an aggressive predator that feeds opportunistically on amphibians, fish, aquatic birds, and, on occasion, small mammals. Of greater concern is the snakehead fish's ability to survive in waters with low dissolved oxygen and to travel across land. When looking for more suitable habitat, snakehead fish have been known to leave poor quality waters and survive out of water for three to four days in search of other bodies of water. Another kind of fish, called the mudskipper, lives chiefly on mud flats and in brackish mangrove swamps. Mudskippers are able to remain on dry land when the tide goes out. They have no special air-breathing organs, but are able to absorb oxygen through the skin and gill chambers as long as these remain moist.
The central upright loop represents a fish. 1 and 2 snap their string taut by moving the hands apart…
…then relax their string by bringing the hands together slightly. This imitates a fish jumping about when taken out of water. Continue until the central loop falls apart…the fish dies.
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