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Related: bestiary - beast -

Instances: cat - dog - human being - monkey - pig - predator - wolf

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Noah's Ark (1846) - Edward Hicks

Leda and the Swan, 1530, Michelangelo


Animals are a major group of organisms, classified as the kingdom Animalia or Metazoa. In general they are multicellular, capable of locomotion and responsive to their environment, and feed by consuming other organisms. Their body plan becomes fixed as they develop, usually early on in their development as embryos, although some undergo a process of metamorphosis later on.

The name animal comes from the Latin word animal, of which animalia is the plural, and ultimately from anima, meaning vital breath or soul. --http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Animal [Mar 2006]

And the ass saw the angel

At first the Angel is seen only by the ass, which arouses Balaam's anger by its efforts to avoid the Angel. The ass is miraculously enabled to speak to Balaam. Yahweh at last enables Balaam to see the Angel, who tells him that he would have slain him but for the ass. Balaam offers to go back, but is told to go on. Speaking animals are a common feature of folklore; the only other case in the Old Testament is the serpent in Eden. Maimonides suggested that the episode of the Angel and the conversation with the ass is an account of a vision; similar views have been held by EW Hengstenberg and other Christian scholars. Others, e.g. Voick, regard the statements about the ass speaking as figurative; the ass brayed, and Balaam translated the sound into words. The ordinary literal interpretation is more probable; but it does not follow that the authors of the Pentateuch intended the story to be taken as historical in its details. The exact accuracy of such narratives is not essential to the Christian faith. --excerpted from http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balaam, Feb 2004

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