How these observations bear on humanity's place in this jungle-as well as our justifiable behavior within it-remains a fascinating and hotly charged question. Many humans exploit nature's bloody game of survival to rationalize a wanton exercise of dominance over the non-human world. It's a jungle out there, we tell ourselves, and thus, to survive, we've got to cash in on our evolutionary success by tracking, hunting, killing and eating those members of the jungle that we can track, hunt, kill, and eat.
But we know that's not quite right. I suspect that we assume this position not because we think we're integrated into the rainforest in the way that a skink or toucan is, but because we are simply seeking an easy, species-specific excuse to steal the forest's low hanging fruit. No viable human society, with the possible exception of an academic department, justifies its behavior according jungle rules.
To deny the veracity of this human/non-human relationship is easy-daily life is held together with too much selflessness and cooperation for us to entertain the survival of the fittest fantasy for too long. But doing raises a more difficult question. Untangling it must begin by exploring our understanding of wilderness. When we stand on the precipice of a rainforest, preparing to enter, how do we envision our place within it?