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Archive for October, 2010

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This is about like fox chasing.

I can’t figure out which species of gazelle this is. It’s either a Dorcas or a Mountain gazelle.

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Not a bad music video for this song:

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I get this sentiment at times.

My Myers-Briggs Personality Type is INTJ.

However, I have taken it a few times from different sites and have received an INTP.

I would call myself an INTJ– but with that caveat in mind.

My I tends to be very strong.

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I should mention the Little River Band is from Australia (hence the albatross in the lyrics), not Little River, South Carolina.

 

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Gerald of Wales included this legend in his Topographia Hibernica :

In Ireland in 1182, a priest travelling from Ulster into Meath, and having to pass the night in a wood, was sitting by a fire which he had made, when a wolf accosted him in human speech.

He was, he said, a man of Ossory, on whose race lay an ancient curse, whereby every seven years a man and a woman were changed into wolves; at the end of seven years they recovered their proper form, and two others suffered a like transformation. He and his wife were the present victims of the curse; his wife was at the point of death, and he prayed the priest to come and give her the viaticum [Last Eucharist] .

After some hesitation the priest complied; and next morning the wolf put him in the right road, and took leave of him with words of gratitude. The priest doubted whether he had not done wrong, and consulted many theologians on the point. In the end he went to the Pope; the result is not stated.

(Another version of the story)

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One wonders if this legend’s origins might lie in the pre-Christian Era of Ireland, where most of island was heavily forested and the deer and the wolf were common.

I wonder if this story could have been passed down from an original story in which a people with the wolf’s prowess at hunting deer was celebrated, and then in the Christian Era, it was twisted in a kind of  “reverse syncretism” into a curse.

Wolves have always been potent symbolic animals.

It really doesn’t matter where or how the symbols get used.

The wolf gets mixed into our culture.

That’s why it is so hard to be objective about the wolf.

The creature is so distorted through out cultural lenses that they become quite subject.

One culture sees them as a shaman.

Another sees them as evil incarnate.

And this is still a biological animal with its own instincts, intellect, drives, and emotions.

 

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The late Paul the Octopus isn’t the only animal prognosticator.

My prognostication doesn’t agree with these puppies, but I sure hope they’re right.

BTW, I miss that octopus.

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The Banhar

 

This dog is a banhar, as it was quickly revealed in the query post.

Banhars are very similar to Tibetan  mastiffs– and are probably quite closely related.

They both represent a kind of livestock guardian landrace.

The Mongolians prefer their dogs to have black and tan coloration, which they call “four-eyed dogs.”   The tan mark above the eyes looks like  animals have another pair of eyes.

It is generally a more lightly built dog than the Tibetan mastiff, and I certainly wouldn’t call them the same breed. In the nineteenth century, the Tibetan mastiff was deemed the ancestor of all molosser dogs (something I have yet to see fully proven in any genetic study) and tons of foppish Victorian cynologists went to Asia in search of them.

That’s where the Western KC version of the Tibetan mastiff comes from.

It’s now quite a fad pet and status symbol in China.

The banhar or bankhar dog has never attained that status.

It is still used as a guard dog in Mongolia.

The animals have legendary status– they are believed to be fierce adversaries for any wolf. This is something I’ve heard repeated for several dogs of this type, such as the Kangal of Turkey and the Caucasian Ovtcharka.

Everyone likes to think that his big dog can really open up a can on a wolf.

And I wouldn’t doubt that wolf would think twice about fighting such a big dog.

Just remember that the biggest wolves can kill a moose.

And I’m sure they can kill a very big dog, even one that is this big and aggressive.

 

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Hylomys parvus

Nobody got the right answer the ID the species query from a few days ago.

The closest anyone got was labpack, who said that it looked like a hedgehog.

This animal is a dwarf gymnure (Hylomys parvus). It is found only around Mt. Kerinci in Sumatra.

Gymnures are sometimes called “hairy hedgehogs,” because they do belong to the same family as the hedgehogs–Erinaceidae.

These animals are also called moonrats.

One of these gymnures actually looks a lot like a Virginia opossum– and is known simply as a moonrat. That species is found in Borneo, Sumatra, and the Malay Peninsula.

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Binturong fight

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What is a binturong?

It’s what we used to call a “bearcat.”

It’s actually a species in the genet and civet family (Viverridae.)

That means it’s a Feliform Carnivore, which means it is related to cats.

But because it’s in that family, it’s actually more closely related hyenas.

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