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Trees, Bats, and Diane Ackerman

Updated on June 18, 2013

Trees, Bats, and Diane Ackerman


In the essay, “In Praise of Bats”, Diane Ackerman questions whether a tree or a bat is the greater carnivore. She describes how a tree is nutritionally sustained by the leavings of corpses that the bat feeds on. I would argue that the tree is not a carnivore. It is not killing any creatures to sustain itself. The tree is merely playing its own part in the cycle of life. While the tree may be living off of the nutrients provided by the decomposing animals, it is also surviving off of decomposing plant matter as well. The tree simply takes what it can get from the soil. It has no choice in the matter.


I also found it interesting that Ackerman described the mating rituals of one type of bat which is similar to the bar scenes that humans use to find people to mate with. I think that this is a great way to show that humans are animals as well. All too often I find that people seem to think that they are better than the other creatures on the earth because they are human. Yet, humans are not much different than other mammals when it comes to finding mates or raising their children. People may not wish to define themselves by their physiological makeup, but I find it to be unavoidable. Psychologists argue that humans are set apart from other animals because of their cognitive abilities. However, cognitive abilities are only possible thanks to the neurological basis that supports them.


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