Encyclopedia of Big Data

Living Edition
| Editors: Laurie A. Schintler, Connie L. McNeely


  • Marcienne MartinEmail author
Living reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-32001-4_7-1

If in the digital world, an array of data in exponential growth is compiled, as expressed by Microsoft in the following: “data volume is expanding tenfold every five years. Much of this new data is driven by devices from the more than 1.2 billion people who are connected to the Internet worldwide, with an average of 4.3 connected devices per person (Microsoft_Modern_Data_Warehouse_white_paper.pdf (2016, p. 6) – https://www.microsoft.com/fr-fr/sql-server/big-data-data-warehousing),” their redistribution varies according to the topic concerned. Thus, the animal world can be broken down according to a descriptive and analytical mode (biology, for example) but also through the emotional field of the human being.

The living world is based on the synthesis of complex molecular developments which have evolved towards an autocatalytic system, reproductive and evolutionary (Calvin). Darwin was the precursor of many studies on the origin and evolution of species. In this regard, Philippe et al. indicate (1995) that the present species contain in their genome sequences inherited from a common progenitor. Eukaryotics form a set of lines, in which – with animals, plants, and fungi – all the great biological groups are found. For the majority of us, these groups appear to constitute the majority of the diversity of the living world and, moreover, contain our own species. This arborescent type structure is shown in the diagram below (Lecointre and Le Guyader 2001) (Fig. 1).
Fig. 1

Diagram of the living world

Communication, in whatever form, is the substructure that allows various species of the world of the living to continue to exist in space and in time. The transmission of information is also part such as spotting means. At the same time, predator and prey, living developed its way of life through the search for food and through its own protection as well as that of its species. This functioning mode corresponds to the level 1 of Maslow’s pyramid of needs, which is basic needs, like food or shelter. With the emergence of language in the hominid, primate, member of the simian group, communication started to use other tools. Indeed, the particularity of the human being is his or her thoughts, more precisely his or her (=their) consciousness of their existence. This was affirmed by Descartes (2000) in his famous formula: Cogito ergo sum. The thought is associated with the language whose intentionality serves the adaptation of the Homo sapiens to their environment through the creation and transmission of informative messages given to their congeners.

In addition, both cognitive and language structures are subdivided into various layers, such as the representation of objects in the world and their symbolization. The relation between humans/animals in their function of predator/prey is the basis of a reconstruction of the animal by the human being as part of a symbolic approach. Lévi-Strauss, anthropologist, demonstrated that the concept of totem was born from a human being’s identification with certain animal characteristics as among the Chippawa tribe, North American Indians, where people of the “fish clan” had little hair, those of the “bear clan” were distinguished by long, black hair and an angry and combative temperament, or those of the “clan of the crane” by a screaming voice (1962, p. 142). In contrast, we find anthropomorphized animals in some fairy tales, such as “Little Red Riding Hood” by Grimm where the wolf plays the role of a carnivorous grandmother or in fables, like those of La Fontaine.

The imaginary for humans has contributed to the reconstruction of the animal as part of the Greek mythology, such as the Centaurs, hybrid beings, half human, half Equidae, or Medusa, one of the three Gorgons, whose hair was made of snakes. Some divine entities wear accessories belonging to the animal world as the devil with horns worn by Bovidae or the angels with their wings referring to the species of birds. Superstition gives some animals protective or destructive powers, such as a black cat which was associated with witchcraft in the Middle Ages, or at that times, when human beings found a swarm of bees attached to a tree in their garden this phenomenon was considered a bad sign they had to give a silver coin to these insects as a New Year’s gift (Lacarrière 1987). The sacralization of the animal is also a special relationship of the human being with animals, like the bull-headed god Apis, or the sacred cat in ancient Egypt. Caricatures have been also inspired by animals to highlight particular character traits at such a known public personality. The projection of the human being and animals between human entry in a register other than his own species or that of the animal in the human species may be born out of telescoping of predator and prey roles played by all living and questioning the Human being. Modern technologies are at the origin of a new animal mythology with well-known animated films, such as those of Walt Disney and its various characters, such as Mickey Mouse or Donald Duck.

The representation of an object of the world evolves according to various factors, including the progress of science. Various studies have tried to understand the mode of thinking in the animal in comparison with that of the human being. Dortier (1998) specifies as well as everywhere in the living world that animals exhibit more or less elaborated cognitive abilities. Furthermore, primatology, which is the science dedicated to the study of the species of primates, shows in the context of the phylogenetic filiations of the pygmy chimpanzees of Zaire and African chimpanzees that we share 98% of their genetic program (Diamond 1992, p. 10). This new approach to the human being in relation to animals where it mentions his belonging to the animal world may have changed the perception regarding the animal world. The protection of the animal, which is considered a sensitive being, has become wide-spread in the societies of the twenty-first century.

In its relation with the human being, the term animal includes two categories: the wild animal and the domestic animal. The latter lives on the personal territory of the human being and also enters their emotional field. In a search made with the help of the Google (https://www.google.fr/search?q=hashtag&oq=Hastag&aqs=chrome.1.69i57j0l5.3573j0j7&sourceid=chrome&ie=UTF-8#q=twitter+animaux) search engine, the number of sites which express themselves with Twitter (https://twitter.com/?lang=fr) – a service which is used to relay short information from user to user approximate the figure of 32,400,000 results. It is worth noting that the term “twitter” refers to the different songs emitted by birds (class of the Aves). Applications, such as Hashtag (https://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hashtag), which is a “meaningful continuation sequence of written characters without a space, beginning with the # sign (sharp) (http://www.programme-tv.net/news/buzz/44259-twitter-c-est-quoi-un-hashtag/),” YouTube (https://www.youtube.com/?gl=FR&hl=fr), which offers every user to create videos and put them online, allowing any Internet user to share their different experiences, whatever their nature, in their relationship with animals, or, again, Instagram (https://www.instagram.com/?hl=fr), which opens up the sharing of photos and videos between friends. An example that made the buzz on Instagram is that of Koyuki, the grumpy cat (https://fr.pinterest.com/pin/553802085412023724/).

Further Readings

  1. Calvin, M. (1975). L’origine de la vie. La recherche en biologie moléculaire (pp. 201–222). Paris: Editions du Seuil.Google Scholar
  2. Darwin, C. (1973). L’origine des espèces. Verviers: Marabout Université.Google Scholar
  3. Descartes, R. (2000). Discours de la méthode. Paris: Flammarion.Google Scholar
  4. Diamond, J. (1992). Le troisième singe – Essai sur l’évolution et l’avenir de l’animal humain. Paris: Gallimard.Google Scholar
  5. Dortier, J. F. (1998). Du calamar à Einstein… L’évolution de l’intelligence. Le cerveau et la pensée – La révolution des sciences cognitives (pp. 303–309). Paris: Éditions Sciences humaines.Google Scholar
  6. Lacarrière, J. (1987). Les évangiles des quenouilles. Paris: Imago.Google Scholar
  7. Lecointre, G., & Le Guyader, H. (2001). Classification phylogénétique du vivant. Paris: Belin.Google Scholar
  8. Lévi-Strauss, C. (1962). La pensée sauvage. Paris: Librairie Plon.Google Scholar
  9. Maslow, A. (2008). Devenir le meilleur de soi-même – Besoins fondamentaux, motivation et personnalité. Paris: Eyrolles.Google Scholar
  10. Philippe, H., Germot, A., Le Guyader, H., & Adoutte, A. (1995). Que savons-nous de l’histoire évolutive des eucaryotes ? 1. L’arbre universel du vivant et les difficultés de la reconstruction phylogénétique. Med Sci, 11, 8 (I–XIII), 1–2. http://www.ipubli.inserm.fr/bitstream/handle/10608/2438/MS_1995_8_I.pdf.

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Laboratoire ORACLE [Observatoire Réunionnais des Arts, des Civilisations et des Littératures dans leur Environnement] Université de la Réunion Saint-DenisMontpellierFrance