from "The Golden Treasury of Natural History," published 1961 (with italic titles to ruin the humour)

--Dinosaurs--

Making Way for The Chosen People

"About 60 million years ago the dinosaurs disappeared.  When they went out of the picture, the Age of Reptiles came to an end."

"The habit of some dinosaurs of eating the eggs of others probably played a part in bringing an end to the dinosaurs.  The rise of a great new group of animals, the mammals, doubtless played a part, too."

"These big reptiles were truly huge.  But they were not the biggest animals that have ever lived.  No dinosaur was as big as a blue whale."

Thank God for Sense

"Doubtless the reason many of the dinosaurs died is that their bodies were too big for their brains.  With smaller bodies and bigger brains they might have lived on.  They were successful for a very long time because conditions on the earth remains almost the same for millions of years.  When conditions changed, they did not have sense enough to help themselves in any way."

Resorting to Slurs

"Stegosaurus has so tiny a brain that it could not control the muscles of its legs."

"The head of Brontosaurus was small.  There was not much room in it for brains.  The brain of the thunder lizard weighed only about a pound--not much of a brain for a 35-ton body.  The big animal must have been stupid."

"Like Brontosaurus, Diplodocus was clumsy and stupid."

--Insects--

When Only the Unequivocal Will Do

"Only people and the social insects are really social."

Us & The Commies

"In some ways an insect society is far ahead of a community of people.  Every individual that is old enough to work has work to do; there is no unemployment.  Every insect knows exactly how to carry on its work in the community; it does not have to be taught.  There are practically no quarrels between members of the group.  But neither is there any freedom.  We like our own societies, in spite of their faults, much better."

--Birds (Friends & Enemies)--

Am I Using My Eyes Properly?

"A bird inherits its way of nest-building.  It does not have to be taught how to build a nest, just as we do not have to be taught how to use our eyes."

Just In Case You Wondered... _ _ "All birds have two legs."

"All birds have wings."

The Good, The Bad, And The Cannibals

"Some birds are our friends and others are our enemies."

"On the other side of the ledger is the harm which birds do us by eating fruit, grain, and helpful insects.  Some birds harm us, moreover, by eating the eggs of other birds and even small birds themselves."

"Of course, no bird is ever consciously helping us or harming us.  They are simply eating the food they are fitted for eating."

--Snakes--

"Many people are so afraid of poisonous snakes that they kill every snake they can.  These people are being unfair to snakes in general."

15 October 2009