Saturday, March 01, 2008

Democritus & the eagle

A bald headed man was walking one day when suddenly he was struck on his head by a large turtle and was killed. An Eagle was seen nearby and the people quickly determined that somehow the gods were displeased and had caused the eagle to hurl the turtle down onto the head of the man to show their displeasure.

However, Democritus, having observed the same event as everyone else, gave it a more naturalistic reason for having happened. He had taken note of the fact that the eagle had developed a liking for the meat of the turtle but found it difficult to extract it from its shell. It learned to carry the turtle high above the ground and drop it onto a rock causing the turtle to break apart and release its meat. The eagle that had been sighted by the crowd had mistaken the man's shiny bald head for a rock and had dropped the turtle directly upon it in order to attain its meat.


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