A History of Homing Pigeons for Long-Distance Communication since the Ancient World

By 3000 BCE, Egypt was using homing pigeons for pigeon post, taking advantage of a singular quality of this bird. Introduction The true messenger pigeon is a variety of domestic pigeons (Columba livia domestica) derived from the wild rock dove, selectively bred for its ability to find its way home over extremely long distances. The rock dove has an innate[…]

What Did People Believe about Animals in the Middle Ages?

Lions, tigers, and dragons, oh my! By Erin Migdol, Elizabeth Morrison, and Larisa Grollemond During the Middle Ages (which lasted from the years 500–1500), people were as fascinated by animals of all stripes as we are—from snails to elephants to mythical beasts like unicorns and dragons. Animals represented themes and lessons from Christianity and were[…]

A Brief History of Ancient Dog Collars

The basic design of the collar has not changed since the time of ancient Mesopotamia but variations reflect different cultures. Introduction The dog collar, so often taken for granted, has a long and illustrious history. Anyone fortunate enough to share their life with a dog in the present day is participating in an ancient tradition[…]

3 Things You Need To Know Before Getting CBD Oil For Your Pets

Oh, the marvelous wellness world. It never stops surprising us with all kinds of new products that can help us get healthier in one way or another. What’s more, our animals have now become a part of this world and a wide number of manufacturers have decided that it was about time for our pets[…]

The Unicorn Myth in Ancient and Medieval Folklore

Accounts describe the unicorn as ferocious, swift, and impossible to capture, with a magical horn capable of healing numerous ailments. By Hillary Smith Introduction The unicorn, a mythical creature popularized in European folklore, has captivated the human imagination for over 2,000 years. For most of that time, well into the Middle Ages, people also believed them[…]

Dogs and Their Collars in Ancient Rome

The dog was a companion, guardian, hunter, professional fighter, tracker, fellow warrior, and sometimes a sacrifice in ancient Rome. Introduction Dogs were highly valued in ancient Rome, as they were in other cultures, and the Roman dog served many of the same purposes as it did in, say, Egypt and Persia, but with a significant[…]

Dogs and Their Collars in Ancient Greece

The most basic dog collar no doubt developed on its own in Greece, but the later ones were most likely influenced by the Egyptians. Introduction Dogs in ancient Greece are regularly depicted in art, on ceramics, in literature, and other written works as loyal companions, guardians, hunters, and even as great intuitive thinkers, and all[…]

Eels and Feels: A Strange Fetish with ‘Electric’ Animals in the 18th Century

For Georgian Londoners, the allure of electric animals was both intellectual and sensual. By Ruth Garde / 04.06.2017 Curator, Creative Producer, Writer For Georgian Londoners, the allure of electric animals was both intellectual and sensual. By the time James Munro wrote these words, scientific investigations into the electrical properties of torpedo fish and electric eels had been[…]

Earliest Evidence of Cat Domestication Found in China

So, you found my ancestors? Are you sure this time? epsos There has been much debate about how cats went from hunting in the wild to a much-loved pet. By Akshat Rathi / 12.16.2013 Former Science and Data Editor The Conversation There has been much debate about how cats went from hunting in the wild to a much-loved pet. That is because[…]

Silk Road Trading Helped Produce the Modern Horse

Yeah, they messed with my genes. attawayjl Research shows that the genes of the modern horse were forged along the way. By Dr. William Feeney / 09.12.2013 Postdoctoral Research Fellow, School of Biological Sciences The University of Queensland The Silk Road snaked across continents for more than a thousand years, shaping civilisations in East and West.[…]

Dogs Love to Play, but They Don’t Do So for Pleasure

Andy McLemore/Flickr/Creative Commons    By Dr. Raymond Coppinger (left) and Dr. Mark Feinstein (right) / 05.04.2016 Coppinger: Professor Emeritus of Biology Feinstein: Professor of Linguistics and Cognitive Science Hampshire College A Jack Russell terrier tears in and out of its doggie door, skidding and sliding on a hardwood floor, only to repeat the performance over[…]

History of the Zoo

Crowds watching Obaysch, London Zoo’s first hippopotamus in 1852. / Wikimedia Commons According to the American Zoo and Aquarium Association, there are over 10,000 zoos around the world and each year they attract millions of visitors. But as historian Dan Vandersommers discusses this month, zoos have long been much more than simply places to spend[…]

Washed Ashore: Marine Mammals from Medieval Times to Today

Pilot whales stranded on Farewell Spit, 2015. By Dr. Ellen F. Arnold / 03.09.2016 Associate Professor of History Ohio Wesleyan University On 13 February 2015, 198 pilot whales stranded in Golden Bay on the northern coast of New Zealand’s South Island. Hundreds of volunteers were mobilized by New Zealand’s Conservation Agency, racing against time and tides to save[…]

Meet the Dogs with OCD

Could understanding canine compulsions help find new treatments for people with obsessive–compulsive disorders too? By Shayla Love / 06.25.2017 Curiously, and perhaps eagerly, I am looking at a bull terrier named Sputnik, searching for a resemblance. He’s a stocky three-year-old, mostly slate grey, with a white stripe on his head and a pink splotch on his[…]

Neuromechanics of Flamingos’ Amazing Feats of Balance

How do they do while sleeping what we can barely do at all? Carlos Bustamante Restrepo    By Dr. Lena Ting and Dr. Young-Hui Chang / 05.23.2017 Ting: Professor of Biomedical Engineering and Rehabilitation Medicine, Emory University Chang: Professor of Biological Sciences, Georgia Institute of Technology If you’ve watched flamingos at the zoo – or if you’re[…]

Why Can’t Cats Resist Thinking Inside the Box?

Next best thing to a hidey-hole box? / Maggie Villiger, Creative Commons By Dr. Nicholas Dodman / 04.17.2017 Professor Emeritus of Behavioral Pharmacology and Animal Behavior Cummings School of Veterinary Medicine Tufts University Twitter’s been on fire with people amazed by cats that seem compelled to park themselves in squares of tape marked out on[…]

Pets in Ancient Egypt

Cult copper statue of a crocodile. From Faiyum, modern-day Egypt. Middle Kingdom, 12th Dynasty, circa 1800 BCE. (State Museum of Egyptian Art, Munich, Germany). By Dr. Joshua J. Mark / 03.18.2016 Professor of Philosophy Marist College The ancient Egyptians kept animals as pets ranging from domesticated dogs and cats to baboons, monkeys, fish, gazelles, birds[…]

Can a Cat Make a Community?

Minou. (Photo: Lisa Wade) Animals bring people together—and more sociologists should study them. By Lisa Wade / 12.29.2016 Last month my neighbor and I mustered our emotional strength, gathered up our neighborhood cat, and drove to the SPCA to help her leave this Earth in peace. He had named her Minou — French for kitty, a common term[…]

Intelligence on the Wing: The Genius of Birds

By Ben Marks / 12.22.2016 The Genius of Birds / Jennifer Ackerman On Tuesday November 8, 2016, tens of millions of Americans enthusiastically cast their presidential ballots for a tax-cheating, racist demagogue who literally said anything to get the votes of common working stiffs, even though it should have been abundantly obvious to them that[…]