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Do Elephants Have Knees? And Other Stories of Darwinian Origins$
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Charles R., Jr. Ault

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9781501704673

Published to Cornell Scholarship Online: January 2017

DOI: 10.7591/cornell/9781501704673.001.0001

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The Saga of Mooshmael

The Saga of Mooshmael

The Logic of Family Relationships

(p.134) 9 The Saga of Mooshmael
Do Elephants Have Knees? And Other Stories of Darwinian Origins

Charles R. Ault

Cornell University Press

This chapter examines the playful logic of family relationships by focusing on the story of Mooshmael, the moose equivalent to Herman Melville's Ishmael. In Bernard Wiseman's book, Morris the Moose meets a cow and a deer and tells them that they are a moose just like him. They decided to approach a horse, who greeted them with a hearty “Hello, you horses!” All four animals then put their heads together and reflected on their images in a nearby stream, recognizing and accepting their differences. Decisions on how to classify moose, cows, fossils, birds, dinosaurs, reptiles, toys, and household objects depend ultimately upon how humans intend to use their knowledge. From a Darwinian perspective, moose and cow ambulate in harmony. Both descend from even-toed ungulates, the cause of Morris's confusion. The horse made a good point. Horses and rhinos made their odd-toed journey into hoofdom in their own way, long before either cows or whales came to be.

Keywords:   playful logic, Mooshmael, Bernard Wiseman, Morris the Moose, deer, horses, moose, cows, fossils, ungulates

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