Posts tagged ‘Animal’

April 20, 2015

Turnspit Dog

turnspit by Sarina Nihei

In medieval and early modern kitchens, the spit was the preferred way of cooking meat in a large household. A servant known as the ‘spit boy’ or ‘spit jack’ sat near the spit turning the metal rod slowly to cook the food evenly. Mechanical turnspits (‘roasting jacks’) were later invented and were first powered by dogs on treadmills (and then by steam power and mechanical clockwork mechanisms, and presently by electric motors). The Turnspit Dog was a short-legged, long-bodied dog bred to run on a wheel, called a ‘turnspit’ or ‘dog wheel.’

It is mentioned in ‘Of English Dogs’ in 1576 under the name ‘Turnespete.’ English naturalist William Bingley’s ‘Memoirs of British Quadrupeds’ (1809) also talks of a dog employed to help chefs, known as the ‘Kitchen Dog,’ the ‘Cooking Dog,’ the ‘Underdog,’ and the ‘Vernepator.’ In Swedish zoologist Carl Linnaeus’ 18th century classification of dogs it is listed as ‘Canis vertigus’ (‘spinning dog’). The breed was lost since it was considered to be such a lowly and common dog that no record was effectively kept of it. Some sources consider the Turnspit a kind of Glen of Imaal Terrier, others make it a relative of the Welsh Corgi.

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August 20, 2014

Snowball

dancing cockatoo

Snowball (hatched c. 1996) is a male Eleonora Cockatoo, noted as being the first non-human animal conclusively demonstrated to be capable of beat induction— perceiving music and synchronizing body movements to the beat (i.e., dancing).

Snowball’s abilities first became apparent after being acquired from a bird show at the age of six by his previous owner. He was observed bobbing his head in time to the Backstreet Boys song, ‘Everybody (Backstreet’s Back).’ The owner and his children encouraged this behavior and observed him developing rhythmic foot-lifting gestures, perhaps in imitation of his human companions’ arm-lifting gestures.

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March 20, 2013

Nureongi

Dog meat

The Nureongi is a yellowish, local dog breed from Korea. It is most often used as a livestock dog, raised for its meat and not commonly kept as a pet. This dog has no formal name in the Korean language. ‘Nureongi’ and ‘hwangu’ are informal Korean words meaning ‘yellow one,’ and might best translate as ‘Brownie’ or ‘Blackie. Another common term is the Korean slang ‘ddong-gae,’ meaning ‘dung dogs’ or ‘shit dogs,’ which refers to the common dogs’ habit of eating feces.

The consumption of dog meat in South Korea, where it is known as ‘Gaegogi,’ has a long history in that country, as well as that of other East Asian cultures. In recent years, it has been controversial both in South Korea and around the world, due to animal rights and sanitary concerns. There is a large and vocal group of Korean people that are against the practice of eating dog meat. There is also a large population of people in South Korea that do not eat or enjoy the meat, but do feel strongly that it is the right of others to do so. There is a smaller but still vocal group of pro-dog cuisine people in South Korea who want to popularize the consumption of dog in Korea and the rest of the world, considering it to be part of the traditional culture of Korea with a long history worth preserving.

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March 19, 2013

Feathered Dinosaur

Avifilopluma

The realization that dinosaurs are closely related to birds raised the obvious possibility of feathered dinosaurs. Fossils of Archaeopteryx (sometimes called ‘the first bird’) include well-preserved feathers, but it was not until the mid-1990s that clearly non-avialan dinosaur fossils were discovered with preserved feathers.

Since then, more than twenty genera of dinosaurs, mostly theropods (carnivorous bipeds), have been discovered to have been feathered. Most fossils are from the Yixian formation in China. The fossil feathers of one specimen, Shuvuuia deserti, have tested positive for beta-keratin, the main protein in bird feathers, in immunological tests.

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November 29, 2012

Detection Dog

detection dog

A detection dog or sniffer dog is a dog that is trained to and works at using its senses (almost always the sense of smell) to detect substances such as explosives, illegal drugs, or blood. Hunting dogs that search for game and search dogs that search for missing humans are generally not considered detection dogs.

There is some overlap, as in the case of human remains detection dogs (sometimes called cadaver dogs), trained to detect human remains. They are also used for drug raids to find where the drugs are. In the state of California, dogs are trained to detect the Quagga Mussel on boats at public boat ramps, as it is a invasive species.

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November 13, 2012

Mechanitis

Fabricius

Mechanitis is a genus of tigerwing (ithomiine) butterflies, named by Danish zoologist Johan Christian Fabricius in 1807.

They are in the brush-footed butterfly family, Nymphalidae. It has gained fame due to the metallic appearance of the cocoons of certain phenotypes.

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September 14, 2012

Mike the Headless Chicken

Wyandotte chicken

Mike the Headless Chicken also known as Miracle Mike, was a Wyandotte chicken that lived for 18 months after his head had been mostly cut off. Thought by many to be a hoax, the bird’s owner took him to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City to establish the facts of the story.

In 1945, farmer Lloyd Olsen of Fruita, Colorado had his mother-in-law around for supper and was sent out to the yard by his wife to bring back a chicken. Olsen chose a five-and-a-half-month-old cockerel named Mike. The axe missed the jugular vein, leaving one ear and most of the brain stem intact. Despite Olsen’s botched handiwork, Mike was still able to balance on a perch and walk clumsily; he even attempted to preen and crow, although he could do neither.

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March 5, 2012

Narwhal

The Narwhal is a rarely seen Arctic whale known for the very long tooth that males have. The tusk’s function is uncertain, perhaps used as a formidable jousting weapon in courtship and dominance rivalry, in getting food, and/or for channeling and amplifying sonar pulses (which they emit), however the tusk is not used in hunting. Long ago, narwhal sightings probably reinforced (or started) the unicorn legends. At times, people found the horn of a dead narwhal washed up on shore and thought that they had found the horn of a unicorn. Narwhal can dive up to 1,500 meters; this makes them one of the deepest diving sea mammals.

Narwhals live in the icy waters of the Arctic seas. They do not go far away from ice and migrate in the summer closer to land where they can sometimes be seen in the estuaries, deep fjords, and bays of Greenland and Northern Canada. These groups can be as big as 10 or even as big as 100 sometimes. But when Winter comes around again, they move back to the icy waters, where they breath from small holes in the ice. Narwhals eat cod, shrimp and squid, and are hunted by polar bears and killer whales. The native Inuit people who are sometimes called the Eskimos, are allow to hunt the Narwhals for food.

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February 18, 2012

Street Pigeon

NY Pigeons

Feral pigeons are derived from domestic pigeons that have returned to the wild. The domestic pigeon was originally bred from the wild Rock dove, which naturally inhabits sea-cliffs and mountains. Feral pigeons find the ledges of buildings to be a substitute for sea cliffs, and have become adapted to urban life and are abundant in towns and cities throughout much of the world.

All pigeons are one species (columba livia). Pigeons breed when the food supply is good, which in cities can be any time of the year. Laying of eggs can take place up to six times per year. Pigeons mate for life, and are often found in pairs during the breeding season, but usually the pigeons are gregarious preferring to exist in flocks of from 50 to 500 birds.

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February 12, 2012

Bull Ant

myrmecia

Myrmecia, often called bull ants, is a genus of ants found almost exclusively in Australia. These ants are well-known for their aggressive behavior and powerful stings. The venom of these ants has the potential to induce anaphylactic shock in allergic sting victims. As with most severe allergic reactions, if left untreated the reaction may be lethal. Bull ants eat small insects, honeydew (a sweet, sticky liquid found on leaves, deposited from various insects), seeds, fruit, fungi, gums, and nectar. They have larger eyes, and hence better vision, than most ants.

The bull ant famously appears in the philosopher Arthur Schopenhauer’s major work, ‘The World as Will and Representation,’ as a paradigmatic example of strife and constant destruction endemic to the ‘will to live.’ ‘But the bulldog-ant of Australia affords us the most extraordinary example of this kind; for if it is cut in two, a battle begins between the head and the tail. The head seizes the tail in its teeth, and the tail defends itself bravely by stinging the head: the battle may last for half an hour, until they die or are dragged away by other ants. This contest takes place every time the experiment is tried.’

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July 28, 2011

Sergeant Stubby

Sergeant Stubby

Sergeant Stubby was the most decorated war dog of World War I and the only dog to be promoted to sergeant through combat. While training for combat on the fields of Yale University in 1917, Private J. Robert Conroy found a brindle puppy with a short tail. He named him ‘Stubby,’ and soon the dog became the mascot of the 102nd Infantry, 26th Yankee Division. He learned the bugle calls, the drills, and even a modified dog salute as he put his right paw on his right eyebrow when a salute was executed by his fellow soldiers. Stubby had a positive effect on morale, and was allowed to remain in the camp, even though animals were forbidden.

When the division shipped out for France aboard the SS Minnesota, Private Conroy smuggled Stubby aboard. Hidden in the coal bin until the ship was far at sea, Stubby was brought out on deck where the sailors were soon won over by the canine soldier. Stubby was once again smuggled off the ship and was soon discovered by Pvt. Conroy’s commanding officer. The CO allowed Stubby to remain after Stubby gave him a salute.

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June 23, 2011

Siafu

siafu

The army ant genus Dorylus, also known as driver ants, safari ants, or siafu, is found primarily in central and east Africa, although the range also extends to tropical Asia. The term siafu is a loanword from Swahili. All Dorylus species are blind, though they, like most varieties of ants, communicate primarily through pheromones. As with their New World counterparts, there is a soldier class among the workers, which is larger, with a very large head and pincer-like mandibles. They are capable of stinging, but very rarely do so, relying instead on their powerful shearing jaws.

Such is the strength of the ant’s jaws, in East Africa they are used as natural, emergency sutures. Various East African indigenous tribal peoples (e.g. Maasai moran), when they suffer a gash in the bush, will use the soldiers to stitch the wound by getting the ants to bite on both sides of the gash, then breaking off the body. This seal can hold for days at a time, and if necessary, the procedure repeated – allowing sufficient time for natural healing to commence.

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