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The Moon in the Nautilus ShellDiscordant Harmonies Reconsidered$
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Daniel Botkin

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780199913916

Published to University Press Scholarship Online: May 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:osobl/9780199913916.001.0001

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date: 17 September 2021

Mountain Lions and Mule Deer

Mountain Lions and Mule Deer

Nature as Divine Order

(p.98) (p.99) 5 Mountain Lions and Mule Deer
The Moon in the Nautilus Shell

Daniel B. Botkin


This chapter examines the notion that the universe is highly structured and ordered to support life, an idea that was expressed in the early part of the century by Lawrence Henderson in his book The Fitness of the Environment. It first reviews the history of the idea of nature as a divine order and the scientific observations of order before discussing Henderson's arguments, particularly with respect to the role of predators in nature. Citing the rapid decline in mule deer on the Kaibab Plateau, whose edge forms part of the north rim of the Grand Canyon, it considers the perspective of American conservationist Aldo Leopold that the mountain lions and the mule deer lived in a natural balance in their undisturbed condition, with the lions killing just enough deer to keep the population constant. It also highlights the lessons that can be drawn from the story of the mule deer on the Kaibab Plateau about the removal of predators, irruptions of prey, and people's role in these processes.

Keywords:   nature, Lawrence Henderson, The Fitness of the Environment, divine order, predators, mule deer, Kaibab Plateau, Aldo Leopold, mountain lions, prey

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