Chapter XXV.—Plants and Animals.
“But what shall I say of plants, and what of animals? Is it not providence that has ordained that plants, when they decay by old age, should be reproduced by the suckers or the seeds which they have themselves produced, and animals by propagation? And by a certain wonderful dispensation of providence, milk is prepared in the udders of the dams for the animals before they are born; and as soon as they are born, with no one to guide them, they seek out the store of nourishment provided for them. And not only males are produced, but females also, that by means of both the race may be perpetuated. But lest this should seem, as some think, to be done by a certain order of nature, and not by the appointment of the Creator, He has, as a proof and indication of His providence, ordained a few animals to preserve their stock on the earth in an exceptional way: for example, the crow conceives through the mouth, and the weasel brings forth through the ear; and some birds, such as hens, sometimes produce eggs conceived of wind or dust; other animals convert the male into the female, and change their sex every year, as hares and hyænas, which they call monsters; others spring from the earth, and get their bodies from it, as moles; others from ashes, as vipers; others from putrifying flesh, as wasps from horseflesh, bees from ox-flesh; others from cow-dung, as beetles; others from herbs, as the scorpion from the basil; and again, herbs from animals, as parsley and asparagus from the horn of the stag or the she goat.