Treats on the Internets

This light-hearted yet sciencey piece in the New York Times examines claims by modern dog fanciers that their breed has existed for thousands of years:

When I asked Greger Larson, of the University of Oxford, who studies ancient and modern DNA of dogs and other animals, whether any breeds date to antiquity, he looked, as best I could tell from his Zoom image, like I had asked him if the Earth might really be flat.

“Breeds have closed breeding lines,” he said. “That’s the idea. Once they get established, you’re not allowed to bring anything into it. And that concept of breeding toward an aesthetic and closing the breeding line — that whole thing is only mid-19th century U.K.”

“I don’t care whether you’re talking about a pug or a New Guinea singing dog or a basenji,” he said. Breeds, by definition, are recent.

It’s an interesting and fun read that focuses on the Maltese and includes several art pieces containing little white dogs that pre-date breed registries. (Thanks to reader Lisa for the link.)

Between 2009 and 2018, earth lost about 14% of its coral reefs. Rising sea surface temperatures which trigger bleaching events are mostly to blame but overfishing, coastal development and declining water quality also contributed to the loss.

Coral reefs cover just 0.2% of the ocean floor but are home to at least a quarter of all marine species. [emphasis added] They provide a vital habitat, as well as an important source of protein, medicines, food and jobs as well as protection from storms and erosion for millions of people.

However, if we act immediately to stop global warming, scientists are hopeful the reefs could recover.

Related: There is a coral reef camera that streams live from the shoreline of Miami and it is very enjoyable (also addictive) to watch.

The white deer has long played a role in the stories and folklore of British and many other cultures symbolizing spirituality, purity and the sanctity of life. When a white buck was seen running in an urban area of England last month, animal advocates urged authorities to let him find his way home. Police killed the animal, citing the hazard posed to motorists.

Art by Amelia Royce Leonards

A fly by night rescue transport of 41 Florida shelter cats on its way to Iowa was stopped by police in Georgia. Four transporters were cited after the poorly ventilated U-Haul trailer was spotted at a rest stop by an off duty animal control officer. The 41 cats were crammed into four dog crates, two cat traps and two squirrel traps without food or litterboxes. The transporters reportedly told police their plan was to release the cats on a farm. The cats are now in the care of rescue groups in the Atlanta area.

Captive lion breeding in South Africa is a big business with over 12,000 lions being used.

Cubs are separated from their mothers and kept in petting zoos for tourists. Adult lions are used for breeding and canned hunting tours — where they’re released into enclosed areas so hunters are guaranteed a kill. And when the lions die, their bones are sold through a quota system for use primarily in Asian medicines and ornaments.

Five days after a recent wildfire went through a lion farm, animal welfare authorities found the owner had left the badly burned lions untreated and apparently had stopped feeding them, resulting in the cannibalization of one of the animals. When authorities raided the farm, 30 lions had to be euthanized as there was no hope of recovery. The remaining 29 lions are being cared for and the owner has been charged with abuse. It is believed he was leaving the burned lions to suffer to death so that he could harvest their bones for profit.

3 thoughts on “Treats on the Internets

  1. Interesting, but I don’t know if I would classify most of these stories as a “treat”, more examples of human disregard and mistreatment of the animal world. Animals don’t have a chance, they are destroyed the minute they become inconvenient, and of course, for profit.
    Couldn’t see a link for the dog story. Breeds did exist, but the breed standard and slavish adherence to it did not. Nor did dog shows to reward it.

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