Nearly nine hundred years earlier Alexander the Great had crossed the Oxus in order to apprehend Bessus, the governor of Bactria. Alexander ordered that Bessus’s nose and ears be cut off. The implement used was the 8-inch beak of a recently deceased Bactrian Heron. Alexander was so impressed by the sharpness of the beak that he asked for it, so he could use it as his own personal dagger. The beak will shatter bones on impact. The Bactrian Heron’s beak is the sharpest in the bird world and can penetrate a phone book and metal sheets with ease. A local fish kebab is colloquially known as Heron’s Beak for this reason.

This is an extract from the book Animals Evolution Avoided