Mouse – lion –
To have a look at threefoldness of mammals, we will compare three well
known animals out of three specialized groups. For the rodents the
mouse is taken, for the carnivores the lion and for the ungulates the
While walking in the woods we suddenly hear rustling among the
leaves, which stops just as suddenly. We see nothing. We go into a barn
or up to a cluttered attic and hear some scuffling, some small animal
darting away, and again we see nothing. But
if we wait quietly, sometimes we may see a mouse wandering
around, eating a seed or a berry.
With these remarks, mice are already somewhat characterized. We
hear the sound of a small being that darts away, but we seldom see it.
However, we find traces: food, droppings, the smell of urine.
Mice are skittish animals that immediately dodge away to a safe hiding
place when they are disturbed; usually to a spot underneath
something, to a hole in the ground or under the floor.
When we want to observe the behaviour of a mouse, we have to resort to
a mouse in a cage. Then we see an active animal that does
something different all the time. Mice are constantly busy, touching
and sniffing at anything and everything.
Toys like treadmills or roundabouts are used for a short time; then on
they go to something else. They eat
several times a day, characteristically using their front legs to
hold food. Sometimes they take food away to eat it elsewhere. If we
sudden movement, the animal reacts jumpily. When the animal sleeps in
its hole, it is invisible. Mice sleep often, for short
periods of time.
In summary, mice are nervous, sensitive and easily disturbed animals.
Sudden happenings in the environment may lead to acute, often
frightened reactions. Mice notice much and are open to the world
outside with their senses.
House mouse - overview
A house mouse eating
The lion is called the king of animals. By loud roaring, which one can
hear 16 km further away, the lion claims its territory.
Lions live in troops - the so called pride - of one or two males, some
females and some cubs and younger
animals. They lie around, enjoying the sun or the shade of a tree,
relaxing and sleeping, their heads and bodies lazily against each
other. They rub their heads against each other and touch each other
'lovingly'. They may spend their time In this way for as long as 20
hours a day. Then they are completely relaxed. Cubs play with each
other, it's a peaceful scene.
Suddenly, some females detect a herd of prey animals. The hunt
starts. Lions can chase a group of animals (zebra,
wildebeest or other ungulates) for more than an hour in harmonious
collaboration. They stalk until they see the opportunity to isolate
one animal from the herd. If this isolation-tactic is succesfull, some
animals hide in the vegetation to deploy a final attack by
surprise. From up to 30 meters lions pounce on their prey
from behind or from
the side. With their canines they bite through the windpipe
or spinal cord and carotid
arteries. Once the prey is dead, the males come closer and
start eating first. Large chunks of meat are quickly
devoured. The females have to wait until the males have
finished, they are growlingly chased away if they come too close
too early. After the females have finished, it's the cubs' turn. During
the meal, there is a lot of mutual aggression.
After dinner, all the animals go to a pool to drink a large
amount of water and then they lay down and peace reigns again.
In the pride there is little mutual fighting. Between the males
and females there is no hierarchy. Only when young
males, who live in separate groups of nomads for years, want to
take over leadership in the pride, they start fighting. The
young males will try to violently
expel the dominant male(s). When they have driven away the old male(s),
they must submit to the females. That is done with aggression, too.
Then they kill all the young animals and mate with the
females. Only then they really are the leader.
We see an alternation of quietly lying
about and active hunting and of peaceful coexistence and aggression.
Peace in the daily routine, aggression in the fighting.
Lions - overview
Lions hunting a zebra and at dinner
When, on a winter morning, we enter the stable, we see all
the cows eating or chewing calmly and peacefully. From their
steam rises up and only the tranquil, peaceful sounds of chewing
are heard. Some animals
look at us calmly and lift their heads a little, the herd hardly
responds. The eyes do not seem to look clearly, they seem rather dull,
introverted. They continue with what they were doing. The outward calm
is accompanied by a large digestive activity.
In summer we can see the herd in the meadow, even there they barely
react to our approach, they keep grazing or are
lying ruminating. You will seldom find the animals sleeping.
Each day they graze
for 8 to 10 hours and they use as much time to ruminate.
Compared with the other two animals, there is not much activity in this
herd animal. There is not much interaction, except for the constant
small skirmishes and threats to determine and confirm the hierarchy
in the herd. Cows spend about one hour a day on social behaviour. They
lick each other's skin for example. To confirm the
hierarchy the animals threaten each other; low-ranking
animals give way to animals that are higher in rank.
Cattle are quiet, reserved animals that spend much time feeding and
The mouse strongly
focuses on the external world: the lightest disturbance is
detected and produces a strong reaction, which is often
flight. Mice hide underground in a hole where they sleep, too. They
live with their senses entirely in the outside world and they
can back out of this only by going underground.
lives in the alternation of rest and hunting, of peace and aggression.
There is alternation of tension and relaxation in the pursuit and
attack: the tense relaxation in the ambush and the vigorous
contraction of muscles in the final attack. In summary, a constant game
of falling off - and coming back into balance (Steiner, in GA
With the cow
the senses are more internally focused. This
animal is engaged in eating, ruminating and digesting food for a
large part of the day.
Observing - and responding to the surroundings (the salivary glands in
the head are larger than the brains) - and feeling (cattle have little
facial expression) are much less developed.
animals with a long tail. The house mouse is 20 to 50 grams and its
body without tail is 7 - 10 cm long, the tail adds another 7 cm. If you
look at the the body without the tail, the head seems to turn into the
body as if there is no neck, the
legs are for a great part integrated in the body.
The body is close to the ground and in rest the
belly touches to the ground. The back
is round, the backbone is rather round, too, and the posterior part of
the body is higher than the head. The emphasis of the body mass is
posterior rather than anterior.
sized, 120 - 200 kg heavy, flexible, mobile body with a
long tail. They move with agility and can make their normally
straight back round. The posture of the head,
on a clear and strong neck, is higher than the backline. Lions have
considerable facial powers of expression. The forehand of the
male is heavier built than the rump, partly due to the mane.
In lionesses this is much less the case. The tail is rather
long. The body does not touch the ground.
are quite large. They are up to 1.80 m high and have a
massive body of 650 kg. They are high on their legs, the trunk is
far from the ground. The torso dominates. The head is connected to the
torso by a somewhat slender neck, and is almost on the same level as
backline. On the forehead there are two curved horns. The top of
the shoulders makes the bull heavier on the anterior side. The cow is
more balanced due to her udder and the lack of the high shoulders that
characterize the bull. The emphasis of the body mass is anterior,
rather than posterior.
The fur of mice
is brown-grey on the upper parts and grey-white on the lower side.
are light brown, the underparts are somewhat lighter coloured. Males
have a dark brown
mane. On the tail end is a black tassel. The cubs are light brown
spotted, on the lower side and the legs the spots stay visible for a
are originally red brown (the cows) and dark brown to black (the
bulls) coloured animals with a lighter eelstripe on the back down the
spine. Around the mouth is a light ring. Common
breeds are black and white or brown and white spotted, others are
coloured, from white till black.
The big eyes of the mice
are prominent. They have big ears and long whiskers
near their mouths. These whiskers notice the lightest trembling in the
air. On the legs and the body are many tactile corpuscles, the tail is
sensitive, too. Despite their big eyes, mice do not see very well,
orientation is mostly done by smell.
can see well, especially moving objects, they even see well in
the dark. Hearing is good and their smell is excellent.
can see well. Even at great distances they can recognize objects or
men. They can see colours. Hearing, smell and tast are good, too.
Heart and lungs
The heartbeat and breathing of the mouse
are fast: breathing is 160
times a minute and the heartbeat is 450 times a minute.
have a relatively big heart and big lungs. In relation to its body
weight the heart of a lion is 3 times as heavy as the heart of the
horse or the cow.
The hind legs of the mouse
are better developed than the front legs. Mice sometimes stand on their
hind legs and use their front legs to hold food. They walk on
the anterior part of their feet.
The legs of the lion
are of medium length. Lions go on the cussions of their toes
limbs are agile. They go about with a lithe, springy, smooth pace.
There is much muscle mass around the skeleton. The skeleton of
a lion is only 13% of body mass (a horse: 20%).
The legs of a cow
are long; especially the outer parts of the legs, and the toes are
extra long. Cows go on the nails of two toes, called hooves.
What we see and call the legs are the lower legs and the toes, the
upper legs are internal.
Cows walk somewhat stiffly, running looks laborious.
In de case of mice 10-12
naked, blind pubs are born after a gestation period of 3
weeks. The pubs are born in a hole underground. After 20 days the pubs
are already independent. There are several litters a year.
searches a suitable place away from the pride to give birth to the
litter. This spot must provide protection from moisture,
sunlight and drafts and is
called a den. After a gestation period of 110 days, 2 to
4 spotted and blind cubs are born. The eyes
open after 1 week. When the cubs are able to
walk, families can be formed of several females with
their litters. After about 8 weeks the lioness and cubs go
back to the pride.
give birth to only one calf after a gestation period of nine months.
The calf is able to stand up and walk directly after birth. In
the wild a nest is made at a
remote location where the calf stays for a few days. Several
times a day the cow goes over to suckle the calf.
eat seeds and nuts: high-quality vegetable food with a high percentage
starch or fat. Food is sometimes taken to eat elsewhere. Mice also
stock up food supplies.
eat up to 30 kg meat a time, mostly of big prey animals, sometimes of
smaller ungulates. They can eat carrion.
grass and herbs. They wrap their tongue around small clumps of
grass and pull it loose. That is why they only eat longer grass, they
cannot bite short grass (horses can). Grass is low-quality, hard to
digest, energy-low food. Cows eat approx. 50 kg of fresh material a day
and they drink up to 100 liters.
has a relatively big stomach and a short digestive tract of 8 times its
body length. The blind gut is large. The salivary glands are
relatively large, because of the dry food. Mice produce dry pallets
that are hardly useful as manure.
have an even shorter digestive tract of only 7 meters or 4 times their
body length. The digestion of meat is easy, but needs a powerful
of strong stomach juices. The digestion is quick. Their faeces is
smelly and not useful as manure.
The food of the cow
is hard to digest. First the grass goes to the rumen, where it is
digested for some hours by micro-organisms. Then it is burped up to
be ruminated, and then it goes to the rumen again. Only when the food
is sufficiently broken down, it goes on to the reticulum.
The digestive tract is 50 - 60 meters long, that is 25 times
the cow's body length. The cow has four stomachs: the rumen, the
the omasum and the abomasum. The abomasum corresponds to our stomach,
the other three are excrescences of the oesophagus. The manure is
somewhat moist and very fertile.
The teeth of a mouse
by four long, chisel-like incisors. By nibbling these incisors wear
off; they keep growing all the time, however. There are no
canines, the molars are big and have transverse ridges. The direction
of chewing is front - back.
In the teeth of the lion
canines dominate, with which they tear off the meat of the prey. The
incisors are small and the carnassials are sharply
pointed and look somewhat like canines. The direction of biting and
chewing is up and down, perpendicular to each other.
In the teeth of the cow
big molars dominate, in which the creases are lengthwise. There are no
incisors in the upper jaw. The direction of chewing is sidewards.
||4,3 - 5 ‰
|length of digestive system
Some features of mouse, lion and
cow (in % or ‰ of body weight, length is in
relation to body length)
Mice have large senses and relatively big brains. They are active all
the time and constanly go from one activity to another. Everyting
is done for a short
time, they even sleep for short periods of time, several times a day.
Heart and lungs beat fast. If we hold a mouse in our hands, we notice
it trembling, being nervous. Mice live from their nerves. The
nerve-sense system forms, as it were, the entire body.
The blind gut is important for the digestion of food. In the teeth the
incisors dominate. Mice store up food supplies in deposits, they do not
store fat deposits in their bodies.
Lions have relatively big lungs and a well-developed heart. They often
playful and loving relations amongst each other and are agressive at
other times. The expression in the middle part of the face plays an
important role in the social life of the pride. The lion is an animal
that lives out of its feelings.
In the teeth the canines dominate. Food is quickly digested and does
put a strain on the body (in contrast with the cow, where the
hard-digestible grass is
ruminated). Observing does not strain the body, either (in contrast
with the mouse,
that reacts to every sensory stimulus). With cows the blood circulation
gets heavy, with mice breathing gets nervous (as with birds,
see: Steiner, GA 230). In the lion there is balance between blood
breathing. Breathing-frequency and rhythm of the heartbeat are
balanced, in harmony.
The cow has a long digestive tract and is occupied with the
digestion of food full-time. The metabolism is found in the entire
body: it ruminates (in its mouth) and the rumen and other extra
stomachs are formed from the oesophagus. Digestion is in the front
part of the cow's body, compared to the mouse (in the posterior part of
the body, the blind gut), and the lion (in the middle, in the
stomach). In the teeth the molars dominate.
Cattle eat a lot of low quality food, with which they build a large
body. The cow connects intensively with
the earthly materials. To change cellulose into milk and meat the
metabolism needs a lot of strength, power and energy. There is much
perseverance and a strong will in
their digestion. The legs are long and specialized, by reduction of the
number of toes. The skeleton is heavy.
These animals as
Man has a different relation with animals of these three groups. Dog
and cat are pet animals, animals that come into the house and are being
loved. Cow, horse, goat and pig are kept as livestock, they come into
the stable and are useful animals. Mice and rats are kept as pets, too,
but in a cage. But they also come into the houses unwanted and eat of
people's food. They are mainly pest animals.
- Rodents are animals that do harm
- Carnivores are animals that come into the house and
which people love
- Ungulates are animals that come into the stable and
are useful for men
- The mouse lives in its surroundings, has sense organs
its entire body, observes much, reacts strongly to what it
experiences, can hardly cut itself off from these experiences. The
accent is on the
nerve-sense system. We can call it a nerve-sense animal or a thinking
- The lion lives in the alternation of peace and
This animal lives out of its rhythmical organs. Rhythm is seen in the
spots on the fur of the cubs, too. The heart-lung system is
well developed. It can be characterized as a heart-lung animal or a
- The cow lives in its powerful digestion and the
and maintenance of a large body. Its limbs are specialized. The
metabolism-limb system is well developed and the cow can be
called a metabolism-limbs animal or a willing animal.
- The nerve-sense animal is the smallest of the three.
Activity of the nerves and an orientation on the surroundings cost a
energy. The high quality food is converted into activity.
- The metabolism-limbs animal is the biggest. The low
food is made into a large body. This animal is dreamy and not very
awake and it is centered on its metabolism. Food is converted
into a massive body.
- The heart-lung animal takes up a
position between these two.
||peace and agression
||calm, turned in upon
||round, no neck, near
||stiff, large, long
legs, far from the ground
||light brown, lighter
||brown, cubs spotted
||dark, light coloured
organs over the entire body
||smell, sight and
|heart and lungs
||fast heartbeat and
heart and lungs
||simple, large blind
||short, stomach is
stomachs, rumen, rumination
|length of it to body length
|direction of chewing
||front - back
||up and down
||anterior side of the
||on cussions of the
||on two nails of toes
||naked and blind,
||with hair, blind, in
||with hair and open
Features of mouse, lion and cow
of functional organ system and mass centre of the body
A polarity exists between the centre of activities and the
mass centre of the body. In the mouse the accent is on the
system, which has its centre in the head. The mass centre is on the
other side of the body, on the posterior part where it is build higher
and in the long tail.
In the cow and more so in the bull the body is heavier on the anterior
side; whereas the metabolic-limbs system has
its centre in the rear end.
The lion is inbetween. The body is balanced, neither front nor rear
side are bigger.
Common vole: a white underside
Lion with a dark brown mane
A horned cow
Heck cow: dark with a lighter eelstripe
House mouse: built higher posterior than anterior, a neck is hardly
A spotted cub
House mouse: big eyes and ears, long wiskers
The two hooves of a cow
House mouse with its vegetable food
Lions eat the meat of a zebra
Skulls and teeth of a rodent (squirrel), carnivore (cat) and
Lions hunt a buffalo
A pride of resting lionesses
A hunting lioness
Skeleton of a house mouse, it moves on the anterior part of the feet
Skeleton of a lion, it moves on its toes
Skeleton of a cow, it moves on its hooves
Pictures from the internet, drawings of teeth
from Rohen, skeletons from