I have a couple of questions for You, my dear readers. Some things I have always wanted to know. You are enlightened and I demand straight answers, if you happen to sit on first-hand information.
In 1671, the English naturalist John Ray was the first person to describe the isolation of formic acid “by the distillation of large numbers of ants“. Apparently, this method was used for centuries before the first synthetic route was described (acidic hydrolysis of hydrogen cyanide – another not so nice compound). I suppose thousands of ant hills, and hence billions of ants, must have been slaughtered for this purpose alone over the years.
Throughout our (dark) history – except from ants – what other animals have humans tried to distill? Anything else successful? Anything notoriously unsuccessful? How do you get the idea, to distill animals, in the first place?