David Quammen Quotes.
The more cases of Ebola infection we have, the more chances there are for the virus to mutate in a particular way that adapts it well to living in humans, replicating in humans, and perhaps transmitting from human to human.
Islands are havens and breeding grounds for the unique and anomalous. They are natural laboratories of extravagant evolutionary experimentation.
One of the things that’s particularly nefarious about Ebola is that it continues to live in a dead person for some period of time after death. A person who’s been dead for a day or two may still be seething with Ebola virus.
Nor are we the culmination of evolution, except in the sense that there has never been another species so bizarrely ingenious that it could create both iambic pentameter and plutonium.
The elk are the most abundant large herbivores in the Yellowstone ecosystem. There are thousands and thousands of them. They migrate in and out. And those migration routes need to stay open.
You can’t take a knife on a plane anymore, but you can get on carrying a virus.
Viruses have to live somewhere. They can only replicate in living creatures. So, when the Ebola virus disappears between outbreaks, it has to be living in some reservoir host, presumably some species of animal.
Heatstroke is an important and useful addition to the library on climate change, bringing insights from deep-time ecological research to help illuminate the dire forecasts of which we’re already so aware.
Among the earliest forms of human self-awareness was the awareness of being meat.
What do we measure when we measure time? The gloomy answer from Hawking, one of our most implacably cheerful scientists, is that we measure entropy. We measure changes and those changes are all for the worse. We measure increasing disorder. Life is hard, says science, and constancy is the greatest of miracles.
I wrote four novels, but then I realized that the world didn’t need me to be a novelist, but the world could use me as a nonfiction writer.
Of course anyone who truly loves books buys more of them than he or she can hope to read in one fleeting lifetime. A good book, resting unopened in its slot on a shelf, full of majestic potentiality, is the most comforting sort of intellectual wallpaper.
Results “are no good unless they answer (or can be made to seem to answer, or can be twisted and wrenched and piled into odd shapes until they hint at being somehow perhaps on the verge or answering) a question that someone might conceivably want asked.”
I thought ‘The Hot Zone’ was fascinating, mesmerizing. It’s one of the things that got me interested in Ebola.
We’re shaking loose viruses and dislodging them from their natural ecological limitations, places where they aren’t very abundant and have competition, even within a single animal. We introduce them into a new, rich habitat called the human population, where they can flourish more abundantly and cause more trouble.
There’s a belief in some cultures that if a person experiences good fortune in financial terms and does not share the good fortune, when that person becomes ill with a mysterious fever and dies, people tend to say: ‘Aha! It was because he didn’t share. It was the spirits who brought him down.’
On April 3, 2014, Jane Goodall turned 80. The iconic blond ponytail has gone gray, but the sparkle of intelligence, sly humor, and fierce dedication still shines from her hazel eyes.
By the cold Darwinian logic of natural selection, evolution codifies happenstance into strategy.
Kill off the sacred bear. Kill off the ancestral crocodile. Kill off the myth-wrapped tiger. Kill off the lion. You haven’t conquered a people, or their place, until you’ve exterminated their resident monsters.
Most Americans know nothing about the African forest, and it seems to them a very scary, spooky dangerous place. I’ve spent a lot of time in the forests of central Africa. I know they’re beautiful places that contain a lot of different kinds of creatures, including some that carry Ebola.
I was a prodigy who learned how difficult writing was only after getting published. I paid my dues later.
Identity is such a crucial affair that one shouldn’t rush into it.
If you are lying in a tent in the Congo jungle, you don’t want to be reading about rainforest biology. You want to be in a distant world.
I’m a white, middle-class male who had a happy childhood in Ohio. The world does not need me to be a novelist.
The swallow that hibernates underwater is a creature called yearning.