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Canine Pups Befriend Cheetah Cubs to Save the Species
One day, we might be able to say that the dog saved the cheetah from extinction.
Kittens and puppies growing up together isn’t that strange, but most people don’t imagine this with baby cheetahs in the mix.
The cheetah is the fastest cat, in terms of running. In terms of breeding, it might be one of the slowest, to the point where it doesn’t happen at all. National Geographic reported in December 2016 that there were around 7,100 left in the wild. This is close to complete extinction. The population got so low for several reasons, including poaching, desperate farm owners protecting their land, and also the nature of the cat's panicky personality. Cheetahs are anxious and nervous. Equipped with thin bodies built for speed, they’d rather outrun enemies than put up a fight. Their jaws are not as strong as other cats, and their teeth are not as large, so if another predator comes along after a cheetah has made a kill, the cheetah will likely not defend its food. In zoos and habitats, the instinct to remain anxious and alert doesn’t leave, even if they are safe from predators. In this case, their energy has nowhere to go. They are stuck, jittery and restless, waiting for something to happen.
When cats are this nervous, they aren’t as likely to mate.
Many zoos, such as the Cincinnati, Columbus, Metro Richmond, and San Diego zoos, have had canines and cats cohabiting in order to save the species, according to CBS News. In 2013, the Dallas Zoo raised two cheetah kittens and a black Labrador puppy, only two days younger than the cats, together.
Pairing the animals for a new cross-species litter works because of the animals’ personalities. Though dogs and cats are very different, and dog people may not see eye-to-eye with cat people, it is clear that one can help the other by learning to be more playful and relaxed. The overall goal is for the puppies to teach these small differences of behavior to the cheetah cubs. They play together, and the dogs calm the cats when needed, as a litter mate, sibling, and best friend, through thick and thin.
This is not the only way that dogs have helped to save the species. The Cheetah Conservation Fund encouraged the use of large dogs, specifically the Anatolian Shepherd, on farms in areas of Namibia where cheetahs are native. Since cheetahs learned sometimes it is easier to sneak onto farmland for a good snack rather than hunt, most of the time farmers shoot them down to save their herds. However, the Anatolian Shepherd is scary enough to keep cats from creeping onto the land. With a bark, the cheetah goes running, and there is no reason for the farmer to harm the animal. Since 1994, when the use of the Anatolian Shepherd was first introduced in Namibia, the cheetah population has reportedly doubled in size. Right now it is possible to donate to the Conservation Fund, or even sponsor an Anatolian Shepherd to participate in the program.
While a trip to Namibia is likely not an easy option, heading down to the local zoo is. Many zoos now are hopping on the conservation train by bringing in dogs to stay with their cheetahs, often adopted mutts from local shelters or they are sometimes Labradors or Shepherds. Now it is easy to witness the unusual dual-species friendship firsthand. It is heartwarming enough to see from the CBS news video, as a Labrador dog cuddles and licks a cheetah after surgery. The caretakers even stressed that they believed the cub wouldn’t have made it without her canine sibling. While dogs and cats might be neighborhood enemies, in the game of conservation, their friendship can save the species.
Andy Samberg and Cristin Milioti get stuck in an infinite wedding time loop.
- Two wedding guests discover they're trapped in an infinite time loop, waking up in Palm Springs over and over and over.
- As the reality of their situation sets in, Nyles and Sarah decide to enjoy the repetitive awakenings.
- The film is perfectly timed for a world sheltering at home during a pandemic.
China moves to Russia and India takes over Canada. The Swiss get Bangladesh, the Bangladeshi India. And the U.S.? It stays where it is.
What if the world were rearranged so that the inhabitants of the country with the largest population would move to the country with the largest area? And the second-largest population would migrate to the second-largest country, and so on?
A recent analysis of a 76-million-year-old Centrosaurus apertus fibula confirmed that dinosaurs suffered from cancer, too.
- The fibula was originally discovered in 1989, though at the time scientists believed the damaged bone had been fractured.
- After reanalyzing the bone, and comparing it with fibulas from a human and another dinosaur, a team of scientists confirmed that the dinosaur suffered from the bone cancer osteosarcoma.
- The study shows how modern techniques can help scientists learn about the ancient origins of diseases.
Centrosaurus apertus fibula
Royal Ontario Museum<p>In the recent study, the team used a combination of techniques to analyze the fibula, including taking CT scans, casting the bone and studying thin slices of it under a microscope. The analysis suggested that the dinosaur likely suffered from osteosarcoma, a type of bone cancer that affects modern humans, typically young adults.</p><p>For further evidence, the team compared the damaged fibula to a healthy fibula from a dinosaur of the same species, and also to a fibula that belonged to a 19-year-old human who suffered from osteosarcoma. Both comparisons supported the osteosarcoma diagnosis.</p>
Evans et al.<p style="margin-left: 20px;">"The shin bone shows aggressive cancer at an advanced stage," Evans said in a <a href="https://www.rom.on.ca/en/about-us/newsroom/press-releases/rare-malignant-cancer-diagnosed-in-a-dinosaur" target="_blank">press release</a>. "The cancer would have had crippling effects on the individual and made it very vulnerable to the formidable tyrannosaur predators of the time."</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"The fact that this plant-eating dinosaur lived in a large, protective herd may have allowed it to survive longer than it normally would have with such a devastating disease."</p><p>The fossilized fibula was originally unearthed in a bonebed alongside the remains of dozens of other <em>Centrosaurus </em><em>apertus</em>, suggesting the dinosaur didn't die from cancer, but from a flood that swept it away with its herd.</p>
Dinosaur fibula; the tumor mass is depicted in yellow.
Royal Ontario Museum/McMaster University<p>The new study highlights how modern techniques can help scientists learn more about the evolutionary origins of modern diseases, like cancer. It also shows that dinosaurs suffered through some of the same terrestrial afflictions humans face today.</p><p style="margin-left: 20px;">"Dinosaurs can seem like mythical creatures, but they were living, breathing animals that suffered through horrible injuries and diseases," Evans said, "and this discovery certainly makes them more real and helps bring them to life in that respect."</p>
Join the lauded author of Range in conversation with best-selling author and poker pro Maria Konnikova!
UPDATE: Unfortunately, Malcolm Gladwell was not able to make the live stream due to scheduling issues. Fortunately, David Epstein was able to jump in at a moment's notice. We hope you enjoy this great yet unexpected episode of Big Think Live. Our thanks to David and Maria for helping us deliver a show, it is much appreciated.