But animal children grow up and stop playing to a certain extent as age advances, precisely as human children do. Each settles down into a more practical condition of life. They dislike to have thier games and play disturbed, and if the mother dog growls because her playful son has continuously tumbled over her while she was sleeping or the cat mother slaps her kitten because he plays with her tail ㅡ it is a display of the same kind of emotion that prompts a human mother to rebuke her child in the nursery for making too much noise, or for throwing toys out of the window.

Animals like ourselves feel every sensation of joy happiness surprise disappointment love hope ambition and through their youthful games an entire index of their future lives may be obtained

ㅡ The Human Side of Animals, by Royal Dixon.

I want to explore the meaning of the whole quotation in bold. (I find it hard to understand it:()

Any help would be appreciated. Thank you very much.

  • Does it help if you change index to contextually-synonymous guide? Essentially, the highlighted text is a version of Show me the boy and I will show you the man. Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 13:41
  • Thank you very very much!!!! It definitely helped me! I can't thank you enough :)
    – hello
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 14:27

1 Answer 1


The rest of the context of the chapter is important. The author is making a (roundabout) point about how animal games are preparation for adulthood. Kittens smacking balls leads to smacking prey, dogs playing hide-and-seek and tag learn vital skills for the tracking and running-down of prey.

So within that context, the play aspects of baby animals is like a categorical index at the back of a book, showing the broad skills they will obtain by adulthood, and thus predict their future lives.

  • 1
    Thank you very much for kindly taking your time and commenting to my post!! I am very grateful :) It definitely helped me a lot!! I am very appreciated! I hope you have a wonderful day :)
    – hello
    Commented Sep 6, 2018 at 14:29

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