The mysterious and useful Vegetable Lamb of Tartary: a plant whose ripe seed-pods yield tiny live lambs. Or was it a plant growing in the shape of a full-size lamb, but with an umbilical tether to the ground? (Oh, and do you know about the barnacle goose?) A tale from the medieval science grapevine. [more inside]
"One hunter recalled a nighttime visit to a swamp in Ohio in 1845, when he was sixteen; he mistook for haystacks what were in fact alder and willow trees, bowed to the ground under gigantic pyramids of birds many bodies deep." In his new book about the passenger pigeon, the naturalist Joel Greenberg sets out to answer a puzzling question: How could the bird go from a population of billions to zero in less than fifty years? (SLNewYorker.) [more inside]
Historie of Beafts combs through Medieval bestiaries to bring you the finest in olde-tyme animal facts. [more inside]
For tens of thousands of years, wild horses have inspired humans - to nurture, to create, to slaughter - culminating in the past century of America’s legal and psychological battles over the horses we can’t own. [more inside]
Hitch the cart to a dog, of course. Dogs (and sometimes goats) were used to pull small carts in much of Europe, usually by people who could not afford to keep horses. The heyday of these small dog-drawn carts was in the 19th century, when dog carts were commonly used in places like England, the Netherlands, and Belgium to deliver milk and sometimes other groceries. In fact, the Belgian Army even experimented with dog-drawn carts toting machine guns during WWI. Previously. [more inside]
In the year 1450, a pack of man-eating wolves invaded Paris. Dozen of Parisians died, until the people lured the wolves into the Île de la Cité and stoned them to death. This year, a new beast was sighted prowling the suburbs of Paris. Was it a tiger? Or was it something else?
"The Cubs occasionally had human mascots, but, aside from managers' children, their tenures were short-lived. (An exception was the Fat Boy, Paul Dominick, who was given credit for a 21-game winning streak in 1935 and then left for Hollywood.) Instead, they seemed to prefer animals—who, it should be noted, did not demand salaries. The 1908 world champions had Bud, a Boston bull terrier puppy with an adorable curved tail, and a grotesque-looking fake polar bear. The 1913 team had a homicidal gamecock, named Tampa after their spring training home. (Tampa's mascotting career seems to have ended when he murdered another rooster.) In 1915, they had another dog, a terrier named Toy. But mostly they had live cubs."
PHOTON PUSH-PULL RADIATION DETECTOR FOR USE IN CHROMATICALLY SELECTIVE CAT FLAP CONTROL AND 1000 MEGATON EARTH-ORBITAL PEACE-KEEPING BOMB
PHOTON PUSH-PULL RADIATION DETECTOR FOR USE IN CHROMATICALLY SELECTIVE CAT FLAP CONTROL AND 1000 MEGATON EARTH-ORBITAL PEACE-KEEPING BOMB by prolific inventor Arthur Paul Pedrick [more inside]
Bugs and Beasts Before the Law - "Murderous pigs sent to the gallows, sparrows prosecuted for chattering in Church, a gang of thieving rats let off on a wholly technical acquittal – theoretical psychologist and author Nicholas Humphrey explores the strange world of medieval animal trials." More on the theme of barnyard scapegoats from the BBC podcast documentary: Animals on Trial.
Animal Rights History collects quotes and original source documents from historical figures concerned with animal welfare, animal rights and vegetarianism throughout history, including John Locke on kids' cruelty to animals, Voltaire on vivisecting dogs, the author of history's first protected species list, lots about Pythagoras, timelines, a survey of anti-cruelty laws and more.
The Feather Book, digitized by and on display at McGill University: A seventeenth-century book containing illustrations of birds and men -- composed of real feathers, beaks, and claws. More information about the book and its contents and history can be read here.
Just Nuisance, Able Seaman. The only canine enlisted in the Royal Navy, Just Nuisance served from 1939 to 1944 in Simon's Town, South Africa (on his papers his occupation was listed as 'Bone Crusher' and his religion 'Canine Divinity League [Anti-Vivisection]'). Providing a great source of morale to sailors stationed there he would escort them on train trips and make sure they made it back to base after a night on the town. Of course being a sailor himself he was privy to a few brushes with the law as well by traveling on the railways without a pass (punishment: Confined to the banks of Froggy Pond, Lily Pool, with all lamp posts removed) or sleeping on an Officer's bed (punishment: Deprived of bones for seven days.). Married, and survived by five children, on his death he was afforded a funeral with full military colours. You can read his biography (which spawned a television series), or merely pay respects at his statue next time you're in Simon's Town.