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There were infections in the New World before 1492 that were not present in the Old (Chargas' disease, for instance). There were those it shared with the Old World, certainly one or more of the treponematoses (a category including syphilis) and possibly tuberculosis; but the list is short, very short. When we list the infections brought to the New World from the Old, however, we find most of humanity's worst afflictions, among them smallpox, malaria, yellow fever, measles, cholera, typhoid, and bubonic plague.
Animals serve as symbols in Hinduism. We have already discussed the symbolic significance of animals as vehicles of gods and goddesses. The elephant is used as a religious symbol by the Hindus, the Buddhists and the Jains. The symbol of ashta diggajas or eight elephants standing in eight different directions represent the ashtadikpalas or rulers of the eight directions of space. The elephants are also associated with goddess Lakshmi as symbols of abundance. The fish and conch shell are associated with Lord Vishnu. The conch is an attribute of Lord Vishnu while two fish juxtaposed to each other is considered as a symbol of fertility and good luck. Makara, a mythical figure, with the head of a crocodile, body of a reptile and tail of foliage, is a symbol of the zodiacal sign of Capricorn. It is also depicted as the vehicle of the river goddess Ganga. In northern India the lion, bull and elephant are included among the ashtamangalas or the eight auspicious objects.
"I recommend that you consider the contrast between the flexibly nosed tapir of South America and
Photodisc the more extravagantly nosed elephant of Africa." Let us begin with a thumbnail sketch of the biogeography of the globe when Columbus set sail. Everyone in the Americas was a Amerindian. Everyone in Eurasia and Africa was a person who shared no common ancestor with Amerindians for at the very least 10,000 years. (I omit the subpolar peoples, such as the Inuit, from this analysis because they never stopped passing back and forth across the Bering Strait). The plants and animals of the tropical continents of Africa and South America differed sharply from each other and from those in any other parts of the world. I recommend that you consider the contrast between the flexibly nosed tapir of South America and the more extravagantly nosed elephant of Africa. The plants and animals of the more northerly continents, Eurasia and North America, differed not so sharply, but clearly differed. European bison and American buffalo (which should also be called bison) were very much alike, but Europe had nothing like the rattlesnake nor North America anything like the humped camel.
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Multiplying a global bird population estimate of 200 to 400 billion by gives a number close to 1 trillion mammals.