Appaloosa Horse

The Appaloosa is a horse breed originated in the United States, and the original American breed was developed by the Nez Perce. The Appaloosa was known by settlers as the Palouse Horse, perhaps after the Palouse River which ran through Nez Perce territory, and the name evolved gradually into Appaloosa.

The Appaloosa horse is a breed recognized for the colorful spotted patterns on its coat. It varies from the leopard coat, a spotted Dalmatian-like pattern, to a few-spot leopard coat or a ‘blanket,’ a ‘snowcap’ of spots. Most representatives have mottled skin and striped hooves, and when the eye is in normal vision the sclera, or the white of the eye, is visible.

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Left-right: Blanket, or snowcap; leopard horse pattern

The Appaloosa horse is currently one of the most popular horse breeds in the United States. In 1975 it was named the official state horse of Idaho, and the Appaloosa has been in many movies and is the mascot of the Florida State Seminoles. The bloodlines of the Appaloosa have influenced other horse breeds, among them the Pony of the Americas and the Nez Perce Horse. The Appaloosa is used chiefly in western riding disciplines, but it is a versatile breed which has adapted to other kinds of equestrian activity. The registry of the modern breed allows the addition of some American Quarter-horse, Thoroughbred, and Arabian horse blood.

The weight of the Appaloosa horse ranges from 950 to 1,250 pounds, and the original breed of Appaloosa was a tall and narrow-bodied horse and rangy horse. According to the ApHC (Appaloosa Horse Club), the Appaloosa is favored to be a reliable family horse and has an easy-going disposition.

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Homing Pigeon

Messenger pigeons are a domestic breed derived from the common rock pigeon, bred selectively for its ability to find its way home over a long distance. They are believed to use magnetoreception, which is a sense using the detection of the earth’s magnetic field for navigation. During wars, homing pigeons were used for their service in carrying messages as messenger pigeons.

Research has been performed with the intention of determining the cause of homing pigeons’ navigational ability to find their way back to far-distanced locations after being transported to places they’ve never visited before. Scientists discovered that there was a large number of iron particles on the top of their beaks, which acted as a compass aligned for determining their home. Some research suggests that homing pigeons use low-frequency sound for their navigation. It was observed that sound waves as low as 0.1 Hz disrupted or redirected pigeon navigation. The ear of a pigeon is too small to interpret such long waves, directing them to circle around after first taking flight, in order to mentally map such long low-frequency waves.

(Homing Pigeon)

Pigeons use landmarks to guide them as well. Other research indicates that some pigeons navigate with the guidance of man-made features, like roads, and making 90-degree turns and following habitual routes which are mentally marked for their navigation. According to GPS studies, gravitational anomalies also play a role in their navigation.

As postal carriers, homing pigeons were able to carry as much as 2.5 oz on their backs. A German apothecary named Julius Gustav Neubronner was known to use pigeons for delivering urgent medication. In 1977 a carrier pigeon service was set up between two English hospitals, for the transportation of laboratory specimens. Until the closure of one of the hospitals in 1983, the 30 carrier pigeons were used to deliver unbreakable vials back to Plymouth. A similar system existed in the 1980’s between two French hospitals, located in Avranche and Granville.

Birds were used extensively during World War I and World War II. Among the pigeons used during war were the Irish pigeon, Paddy, the American G. I. Joe and the English Mary of Exeter, all of which were awarded the Dickin Medal. Cher Ami, a homing pigeon used during WWI, was famous for delivering 12 important messages despite serious injuries. Birds were of vital use in the Invasion of Normandy, as radios could not be used for fear of interception from the enemy.

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(Left to right: Cher Ami and Paddy)

 

German Shepherd

The German shepherd is a breed of medium to large-sized working-dog which originated from Germany (hence its name, which is sometimes abbreviated to GSD for German Shepherd Dog in English). The German shepherds were developed originally for herding sheep,  as part of the Herding Group. However, since that time they also play roles in disability assistance, police and military use, search-and-rescue, and acting.

German shepherds most commonly come in sable, all-black or pure-white. They usually have tan and black coloring with a black mask and the classic, black ‘saddle’ or ‘blanket’ over the back. German shepherd coats are accepted in variations of long and medium length. They have two-layer coats, and the undercoat is thick and dense. They have a bushy tail which reaches the hock (a joint between the tarsal bones and tibia of a quadrupedal mammal, such as a horse, dog or cat), strong jaws and a black nose.

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The German shepherd is a moderately active and self-assured dog breed. They are excellent guard dogs and suitable for search missions because of their curiosity. They are highly intelligent and obedient, but they can also sometimes become over-protective of family members, especially if they are not socialized correctly. However, they are known to be inclined to become immediate friends with strangers despite the fact that they were reported once to be the breed third most likely to attack a person. They were also reported to have an incredibly strong bite.

Controversy over the German shepherd includes a dispute over soundness in a show-train breed. They were criticized for having a sloping topline which caused poor gait in the hind legs. An orthopedic vet said, remarking on footage of German shepherds in the show ring, that they were ‘not normal.’

German Shepherd Dog lying in three-quarter view with front paws crossed

German shepherds were bred specifically for their intelligence and working ability; they were ranked the breed third in intelligence, behind the border collie and the poodle. Along with their strength, this trait makes the breed desirable for playing roles specifically in the police, guard and search-and-rescue work. Many are famous for taking part as heroes in war.

The AKC (American Kennel Club) sums up the GSD as ‘confident, courageous and smart,’ and the life expectancy is 7-10 years of age.

 

Spitz

Spitz dogs are a breed well suited for the harsh northern climates it inhabits as a sled dog. Spitz is often characterized by long and thick fur, often white, and with pointed ears and muzzles and a tail which is usually curled over the dog’s back.

Spitz dogs have also been used to herd and hunt. They often have a waterproof undercoat which has thermal  insulation, which is also thicker than the overcoat to trap warmth. Risk of frostbite is reduced by the small size of their ears, and dense fur which grows on their paws protects them from sharp ice.

Spitz, with their small ears and muzzles, thick coats, furry ruffs and curled tails, have been bred into non-working companions intended to be lapdogs. This trend is most evident in the miniscule Pomeranian, which was originally a much larger dog, and closer to the size of a Keeshond before being bred down to make an acceptably small animal. The Keeshond, the Wolfspitz variation of the German Spitz dog, was widely known as the national dog of the Netherlands; it is an affectionate, loyal, and energetic pet which have been bred as watchdogs for barges (hence the name Dutch Barge Dog). Often, these breeds were recognized for their evidently ‘smiling’ mouths. 

Many spitz breeds such as the Akita and the Chow Chow retain wolflike characteristics which puts them in need of much training and socialization before they become well managed in urban environment.

Until the 19th century three of the largest spitz, Canadian Eskimo dog, Greenland dog, and Alaskan malamute, were used to pull sleds. During the 19th century, fur trapping and sled dog racing became businesses which produced a great deal of profit, and the smaller and faster Siberian husky quickly became a breed with popular use in Alaska and Canada. Also, several sources claim that spitz dogs are more prone to rabies than most other types of dogs.

The exact origin of spitz dogs is unknown, but most modern spitz seen today are originated from Siberia and the Arctic region.

 

Greyhound Racing

Greyhound racing is a competitive sport for which betting on the outcome is allowed to the public. Greyhound racing is organized into two forms, specifically running a normally oval track, and coursing. Track racing is known for the use of an artificial lure, which travels ahead of the competitors throughout the race and subsides when the finish line has been passed.

Greyhound racing is purely amateur in many countries, with the exception of Australia, Ireland, Macau, Mexico, Spain, the US and the UK; for those countries, greyhound racing is a part of the gambling industry, and though similar, it is far less profitable than horse racing. In some countries, the dog trainers of commercial racing industries illegally use live baiting. Animal rights and animal welfare groups are critical of the welfare of dogs participating in those greyhound racing industries, and a greyhound adoption movement was aroused to assist retired racing dogs into the finding of new homes; for this, there is an estimated 90% adoption rate in the US.

In the year 2016, a bill to ban greyhound racing was passed in the government of New South Wales, in Australia. This new law was supposed to come into effect in the middle of 2017,  but it was reversed in late 2016, although with several restrictions new to the industry.

[Greyhounds rounding a bend]

    Greyhound adoption groups frequently reported that dogs retired from the racetrack had tooth problems; the cause was debated. The groups also found that often the adopted greyhounds carried tick-born diseases and parasites which resulted from improper preventive treatments. Overall, animal welfare was critical of the greyhound racing industries, which they thought to be cruel, inhumane and concealing evidence of wrongdoing; for those reasons specifically, it was a large source of controversy in the 1980s.

 

Research: laboratory rats

Rats are often chosen over mice when they are studied and experimented upon in laboratories for physiology, immunology, learning, behavior, nutrition and toxicology (which is a branch of science that concerns with the nature, detections and effects of poisons). This is somewhat because they are larger and thus procedures and handling is easier, doubled then by the fact that they have larger brains than mice. Scientists are also more familiar with rats, and the effects, results and pathways they are taken to. After this, rats have enabled the development of a large amount of complex learning and conditioning theories.

Their ability to learn, and to be taught in stimulus to press buttons and levers, has given them an advantage over mice as well. They are prevalent in biomedical research second only to humans, and they share 90% of the genome with them.

Well-established strains of rat are used to study a number of human diseases, including cancer. These strains were accomplished throughout a number of different processes, and the result was successful. Some rats were fed a high salt diet, and the animals were bred on the basis of blood pressure either increasing or remaining normal. This proved salt sensitivity to be an inherited trait, and that similar factors applied in the human race.

Several procedures which rats underwent in laboratories included maze performance, which was liable to practice memory tasks. The radial arm maze is a circle of doors in which a rat is set and based upon memory in the fact that it must figure out what doors led to unexplored passages, and the doors behind which they had already ventured.

Even house mice, whom have stolen for generations from humans, have paid back a thousandfold for revealing many of biology’s secrets yet undiscovered by scientists. They have participated in advancing medical goals, including the understanding of the functional parts of the genome, modeling the study of human disease and developing the genomic-based therapy applied to diseases in humans.

In this way, rats are killed in experimental procedures and have been known to get Alzheimer’s for the sake of science studying forgetfulness in diseases. Rats remain crucial in the understanding of human diseases, but replicating the diseases in rats will not be certain to provide the same results as in humans.

 

Seahorse

The seahorse, genus Hippocampus, is a type of fish named for its equine appearance, suggesting that of a horse. Seahorses do not have the streamlined, horizontal body of a common fish and therefore are usually much slower than the average fish and can swim vertically. This is for the upright posture and curled prehensile tail, which can unravel at wishes to support the seahorse by clinging to a coral or type of aquatic plant such as eelgrass. Seahorses are found in areas of saltwater including beds of seagrass, coral reefs, mangroves, and estuaries, and among these locations, they search for food such as small crustaceans by probing about for aquatic meals, sucking them up through their long snouts as they don’t have any teeth.

Although seahorses are relatively bony, they do not have scales, but rather very thin skin stretched over bony plates throughout their bodies. They don’t have the caudal fin of usual fish, and instead possess a long, prehensile tail which is useful in extreme conditions; as well as this they have the common dorsal fin and pectoral fins. A seahorse’s eyes are like those of a chameleon and may move freely about the head.

Seahorses also have the ability to change colors, and therefore camouflage themselves primarily for safety from passing carnivorous predators. This ability, however, does not hinder that certain seahorses always have a natural color, due to whatever certain species they are.

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An example of the camouflage of a seahorse.

Seahorses’ primary relative is the pipefish, a species of very small, long and thin fish which makes up the family Syngnathidae with seahorses and seadragons (such as the Weedy and Leafy Seadragon).

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Top to bottom: Leafy Seadragon & Weedy Seadragon.