A foldout found in the 1644 edition of Markham’s Maister-peece [Masterpiece], Containing all Knowledge Belonging to Smith, Farrier, or Horse=Leech, Touching on Curing All Diseases in Horses.
Michael J. North, Head of Rare Books and Early Manuscripts in NLM’s History of Medicine Division, takes a look at one of the most important books in the history of veterinary medicine – a seminal 17th-century work dedicated to the care of horses.
One of the most important and enduring books in the English language about the care of horses is by Gervase Markham (1586?-1637), an author of poetry and practical guides, including books on horsemanship and home economics.
His most famous work, however, was Markham’s Maister-peece [Masterpiece], Containing all Knowledge Belonging to Smith, Farrier, or Horse=Leech, Touching on Curing All Diseases in Horses, which was first printed in London in 1610 and came out in dozens of editions under a number of titles for over 200 years.
This edition of Markham’s Maister-peece printed in London in 1644 and held in NLM’s collection is divided into two parts focusing on “physical cures” and “surgical cures,” the former handling mainly internal physiology and pathology with herbal or dietary remedies, and the latter covering external illnesses which required hands-on treatments like bloodletting, purging, and bandaging.
Is your feline friend purring because he’s happy, or could it be something else? (Photo: Travis Modisette/flickr)
It’s easy to assume that cats purr because they’re happy. After all, when your kitty contentedly curls up in your lap for some well-deserved scratches and rubs, she’s obviously one happy feline.
However, cats also purr when they’re frightened or feel threatened, such as during a visit to the vet. Veterinarian Kelly Morgan equates this reaction with smiling. “People will smile when they’re nervous, when they want something, and when they’re happy, so perhaps the purr can also be an appeasing gesture,” Morgan told WebMD.
A cat’s purr begins in its brain. A repetitive neural oscillator sends messages to the laryngeal muscles, causing them to twitch at a rate of 25 to 150 vibrations per second. This causes the vocal cords to separate when the cat inhales and exhales, producing a purr. But not all cats can purr. Domestic cats, some wild cats and their relatives — civets, genets and mongooses — purr, and even hyenas, raccoons and guinea pigs can purr.
However, cats that purr can’t roar, and cats that roar can’t purr because the structures surrounding roaring cats’ larynxes aren’t stiff enough to allow purring. Roaring cats evolved this way for good reason. These cats move around a lot to catch prey, so they developed their roar to protect their prides and their territory.
Purring cats, on the other hand, are smaller and more likely to be loners that don’t have to compete with each other for prey. They use scent to mark territory and don’t need a far-reaching way to communicate.
However, your cat may also purr to communicate with you. According to researchers at the University of Sussex, domestic cats can hide a plaintive cry within their purrs that irritates their humans while appealing to their nurturing instincts.The team examined the sound spectrum of 10 cats’ purrs and found an unusual peak in the 220- to 520-hertz frequency range embedded in the lower frequencies of the usual purr. Babies’ cries have a similar frequency range at 300 to 600 hertz.
Karen McComb, who headed the study, said cats may be exploiting “innate tendencies in humans to respond to cry-like sounds in the context of nurturing offspring.
”Why would your feline do this? “Cats apparently learn to do this to get people to feed them sooner,” said veterinarian Benjamin L. Hart.Cats’ purrs are more than simply a way to communicate though. Scientists like Elizabeth von Muggenthaler, a bioacoustics researcher, believe that cats also purr to heal themselves.
Bottlenose dolphins leap from the water in the Caribbean Sea.
Photograph by Stuart Westmorland, Corbis
Believe it or not, how dolphins can swim so fast has been something of a riddle for researchers since the 1930s.
But a new study has laid to rest one of the most vexing questions plaguing scientists about dolphin speed: How can their muscles produce enough thrust for such high speeds? “It’s been controversial for a while,” said Frank Fish, a marine biologist at West Chester University in Pennsylvania.
Now he has the answer: Bottlenose dolphins can produce the power they need to swim circles around whatever they wish by using their powerful tails, new experiments show. The paradox began in 1936 with a British researcher named Sir James Gray, who conducted the first study on dolphin swimming, said Fish, a co-author of the study published online January 15 in the Journal of Experimental Biology.
Gray had observed a dolphin swimming around a ship at 33 feet (10 meters) per second for seven seconds, and wondered how the animal could move so quickly. (See National Geographic’s videos of dolphins and porpoises.)
Physics theory states that for something the size of a dolphin—and for the speed with which it travels through the ocean—water flow over the animal should be turbulent rather than smooth, Fish said.
That turbulent flow creates a lot more drag that needs to be overcome than smooth flow does. But when Gray input his variables into his equations and assumed a turbulent flow, “he found the animal didn’t have enough muscle mass to produce the power it needed to swim at that speed,” said Fish.”This became Gray’s paradox,” Fish said—sparking a decades-long search for an explanation of how dolphins powered through the water.
Gray assumed that the dolphin must have been doing something to turn the turbulent flow over its body into a smooth flow. But scientists hadn’t been able to figure out how the mammals did it.
A feral pig swims off Cat Island in the Bahamas in 2008.
Photograph by Jim Abernethy, National Geographic Creative
by Liz Langley, National Geographic
It’s almost summertime, which means many of us will be hitting the pool or the beach for some watery fun. But we’re not the only creatures who like to make a splash.
When Dana Smith asked via Facebook, “My four-year-old wants to know, do pigs swim?” Saturday’s Weird Animal Question of the Week decided to look at some typically terrestrial animals who also like the life aquatic.
“Pigs are excellent swimmers,” crossing water to seek food sources, escape danger or find better habitat, Billy Higginbotham, of Texas A&M University.
“For example, all of the heavy rainfall the last month in Texas has caused wild pigs to move—and in some cases, swim—out of bottomland areas and seek higher ground.”
Some are even beach bums.
The Bahamas’ Big Major Cay is home to feral pigs who swim with tourists.
Aaron Shultz of the Cape Eleuthera Institute, an environmental-education center in the Bahamas, says local lore is that Europeans once stocked the islands with pigs, enabling them to resupply ships returning home.
But it’s uncertain how the animals got to Big Major Cay.
Shultz speculates that “over time the pigs associated boats, boat-engine noise, and tourists with food,” and learned to swim out to the tempting treats.