The science of the nineteenth century was dominated by the perfectibility of knowledge. Fueled by the analytic/systematic distinction provided by Kant, the European thinkers of the day were bent on elucidating all the empirical rules that governed the universe. Even if the universe was infinite everything was potentially knowable and humans were capable of detached observation that could elucidate and name all these facts and rules.
Contemporary understanding of what it is to be human has been morphed again and again by advancing scientific understanding. First the human went from the animistic spirit thing, then on to the the polytheistic and monotheistic soul as a specific embodiment of god(s). With the dawn of the renaissance and positivism religious definitions finally became moot and the search began anew for an all encompassing definition of humanity. Mechanistic Cartesianisms came to dominate and have done so through much of contemporary thought, causing conflict and contention with the religious definitions of the self that attempt to reconcile themselves with the modern world-view.
I was recently told that roughly eighty percent of the North American peregrine falcons breed in the Mackenzie River valley. I didn’t read it in the literature as it were, but was told by someone with decades of monitoring experience there, so I’ll take it on faith for now. What it immediately brought to mind was the Colorado River, renowned for no longer reaching the ocean.