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The Whelk (2)

Homosexuality Is For The Birds

Koryos, who previously explained how cats got domesticated using tumblr, now explains why homosexual pair-bonding can be a successful reproductive stratagem. Also, Coot Parenting Tips, Queen Cowbird Of The Brood Parasites , There's No Such Thing As An Alpha Wolf, and Can Animals Have Pets?
posted by The Whelk on Aug 16, 2014 - 9 comments

Naturalis Historia

"My subject is a barren one – the world of nature, or in other words life; and that subject in its least elevated department, and employing either rustic terms or foreign, nay barbarian words that actually have to be introduced with an apology. Moreover, the path is not a beaten highway of authorship, nor one in which the mind is eager to range: there is not one of us who has made the same venture, nor yet one Roman who has tackled single-handed all departments of the subject."
Naturalis Historia was written by Pliny the Elder between 77 and 79 CE and was meant to serve as a kind of proto-encyclopedia discussing all of the ancient knowledge available to him, covered in enough depth and breadth to make it by a reasonable margin the largest work to survive to the modern day from the Roman era. The work includes discussions on astronomy, meteorology, geography, mineralogy, zoology and botany organized along Aristotelian divisions of nature but also includes essays on human inventions and institutions. It is dedicated to the Emperor Titus in its epistle to the Emperor Vespasian, a close friend of Pliny who relied on his extensive knowledge, and its unusually careful citations of sources as well as its index makes it a precursor to modern scholarly works. It was Pliny's last work, as well as sadly his sole surviving one, and was published not long before his death attempting to save a friend from the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius that destroyed Pompeii and Herculaneum, famously recounted by Pliny's eponymous nephew Pliny the Younger.
Here is a reasonable translation that is freely available to download from archive.org for your edification.
[more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Dec 16, 2013 - 24 comments

LET’S LEARN ABOUT CATS

CATS? WHAT THEY ARE AND HOW THEY GOT DOMESTICATED (MAYBE??) A TUMBLR ESSAY
posted by The Whelk on Aug 10, 2013 - 52 comments

More Than One Best Friend

SLYT: Baboons kidnap and raise feral dogs as pets. Via: BoingBoing
posted by rosswald on Apr 26, 2013 - 47 comments

A Wild Cat x A Domestic Cat = A Hybrid Cat

A Serval x Domestic Cat = Savannah Cat
Where F=generations from wild. F1 through F3 are not recommended as pets. F4 are considered loyal and well-behaved, like dogs.

An Asian Leopard Cat x A Domestic Cat = A Bengal Cat
Named after the Leopard Cat’s species, P. bengalensis, not the distant Tiger relative

A Bengal Cat x Oriental Shorthair = A Serengeti Cat
Looks like a small Serval, but no Serval bloodline, fully domesticated. See also the Toyger and the Cheetoh [more inside]
posted by Toekneesan on Feb 16, 2013 - 62 comments

"I don't understand how you evolved. You are too goofy,"

"The idea that a species domesticated itself is a bit crazy, but there are some species that outcompeted others by becoming nicer." Wired examines the phenomena of self-domestication. [more inside]
posted by quin on Feb 8, 2012 - 38 comments

Lingua Canis Domestica

NOVA hosts a test to see how well you speak dog. Originally in association with Dogs Decoded, which is available to watch for the next week via NOVA's website.
posted by cmoj on Oct 13, 2011 - 44 comments

as devoted as dogs, as independent as cats, the domesticated silver fox!

The silver fox, domesticated over 40 generations by the late Siberian scientist Dmitri Belayev. Belayev and his students started this experiment in 1959 by selecting specifically for human-friendly behaviors. More on the observed differences between domesticated and wild foxes in the original paper that appeared in American Scientist Early Canid Domestication: The Farm-Fox Experiment (pdf). [more inside]
posted by jessamyn on Jun 21, 2010 - 63 comments

Happiness is a warm puppy. ~Charles M. Schulz

Dogs were probably the first animals animals to be domesticated - because we wanted to eat them.
posted by bigmusic on Sep 7, 2009 - 50 comments

prehistoric woof

The Village Dog Project is an ongoing research project to document genetic diversity in pariah dogs. These dogs haven't been subject to breed pressure, and may be able to help researchers learn more about the transition from wolf to dog. (via)
posted by Pants! on Jun 23, 2009 - 5 comments

Cats' Cradle

"It is by turns aloof and affectionate, serene and savage, endearing and exasperating." The origins of the house cat, when and how it was domesticated, have been matters of scientific debate. However, according to this article, it looks like we didn't adopt them; they adopted us, and a lot earlier in our history than has been supposed.
posted by angiep on May 26, 2009 - 49 comments

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