Fancy Pigeon (and English Carrier, top right) Breeds

Easily domesticated, with short generation times and friendly disposition, pigeons have long been ideal for “fancy” breeders - people who wanted to breed an animal based on looks, like the majority of modern dog and cat breeds.

Where the standard carrier pigeon is the simply-colored greyhound of the sky, fancy pigeons are everything from the problem-ridden, overly-droopy modern iteration of the basset hound, to the functional-but-fancy Cardigan Welsh corgi, to the ornamental-but-sound Maltese.

A fancy pigeon show is more like a cat show than a dog show, though. The breeds have largely been derived for their looks, though a few (such as the Maine Coon cat, or the Scandaroon pigeon) served additional purposes at some point in time. The animals are kept in cages, divided by color and type, and are most prized if they’re relaxed with handling, but still the type to “strut” and show off.

Read more about some of the most popular fancy pigeon breeds on Mental_floss.


Illustrirtes Mustertauben-Buch. Author unknown, 1880.

risingaboveeveryday: The tumblr “nowyoukno” just posted a “factoid” about “the extremely rare and majestic golden tiger”. Just thought I’d say something.

(Here is the post)

I’m posting this because I could not reply back to you via private messaging nor could I access your ask box.

I just viewed nowyoukno’s blog, its just like all the other ‘factoid’ blogs where they just post 'facts’ with a source back to wiki, and they don’t explain anything further. I was thinking about reblogging it, but I thought explaining on here would be the same anyways. So, yes, from what I’ve read and researched, there seems to be approximately 30 or less golden tigers worldwide (all captive), but the problem (which the nowyoukno blog conveniently left out) is that they’ve been extremely, extremely inbred to acquire their phenotype. Although the color morph is rare, which I believe is only found in captive specimens, the golden tiger is not rare because it is not a separate subspecies and therefore cannot be endangered (tigers in general are an endangered species, but the specific golden tiger is not - golden tigers are also impure, meaning they’ve been inbred, plus they might be mixed tigers or tiger 'mutts’, with no pure genetic lines, and cannot aid conservation). Factoid posts like these really bother me because they spread misinformation or purposefully leave out information, its just annoying, idk. 

National Park Service considers bringing more wolves to Isle Royale

The National Park Service is taking a closer look at whether or not to bring more grey wolves to Isle Royale National Park. Only two wolves remain on the island now.

To help make its decision, the park service wants to hear from you. It’s accepting public comments on the question right now.

At one point, there were as many as 50 wolves on Isle Royale. But Phyllis Green, Superintendent of the Isle Royale National Park, says that number was abnormal.

“Fifty was a very unusually high number — probably one of the highest concentrations of wolves ever found per acre,” Green says.

The island kept the animals from dispersing, and that causes problems for wolves.

“Islands are pretty hard on any species,” she says. “You kind of have to adapt and survive or leave.”

She says oftentimes a species will disappear from an island completely. That’s a risk for wolves on Isle Royale.

The proposed courses of action

The National Park Service plans to assess four different courses of action to help the wolf population.

The first option is no action — to let nature take its course. Green says that’s typically what the park service opts for.

But that could be risky.

Green says “very low, intermittent introduction of wolves naturally” caused wolves to inbreed. That’s likely what made it hard for the animals to sustain their population.

For that reason, the park service is considering bringing animals in to reestablish the population.

Alternative B does just that. It brings a new group of wolves to the island during a one-time period, which could take a couple years.

“And the question is, could you improve upon the start-up point?” Green says. “Is there a way to introduce a certain number of wolves over a short time period that have enough genetic diversity that they could carry themselves through the next cycle on Isle Royale?”

The third option, Alternative C, would bring wolves onto the island as often as needed throughout the next 20 years at least.

“So under that scenario you’ll do some type of a start-up population, or intermixing with the current population — provided they’re still there — and you would add wolves at a certain interval,” Green says. “But that’s still very problematic, because wolves don’t exactly greet each other with open arms as often as with bared fangs.”

With that in mind, Green says this plan would require “a pretty good backup strategy.”

The final alternative is a bit of a hybrid — the park service would take no action right now. But it could decide to introduce wolves later.

“It’s going to be a little more complicated than the other two alternatives, because it’s going to try to be more adaptive and really evaluating what’s going on in the park and then adjusting the course forward from there,” Green says.

Now the plan is to evaluate the options.

“I think it’s a real positive in our society that we’re taking a look at how we help the natural world stay intact,” Green says. “But the natural world also has its own boundaries and processes and I think we need to be respectful of that as we think about whether we should tinker in those processes.”

The public is invited to read the park service’s revised scope of the environmental impact statement and to comment.

These comments will be added to ones the service has already received from people in all 50 states, Washington D.C., and 19 other countries.

You can comment on the park service’s proposals here.


Mummies' Height Reveals Incest

The height of the pharaohs who ruled ancient Egypt supports historical records that they might have married their sisters and cousins, says new research into 259 mummies.

It’s known from historical sources that incestuous marriages were common among the ancient Egyptian royalty. The pharaohs believed they descended from the gods so inbreeding was seen as a way to retain the sacred bloodline.

But it is hard to prove incest in royal marriages through genetic testings because of ethical consideration when destroying mummies’ tissues.

Frank Rühli, director of the Institute of Evolutionary Medicine at the University of Zurich, and colleagues used a highly hereditable character, body height, to look for evidence of incest in 259 mummies of both commoners and royals. Read more.

anonymous asked:

Um, can I ask why purebred dogs have so many problems? Or is there already a post on the subject?

The concept of purebred dogs is not a bad one; it’s just the state of many purebred dogs (and other animals) is awful right now.

Theoretically, having a purebred dog would be a way of determining size, looks, and approximate temperament of the animal you are hoping to get. And that is generally a good thing; some owners live in apartments and some live on farms, some want working dogs and some want lapdogs. It’s good for both the owner and the animal if they match up.

Where breeding can go wrong is when the looks and price of an animal matter more than the quality of life that its genes will cause it to have.

The two main issues affecting purebred animals can be summarized to inbreeding depression and overbreeding, both of which I’ll discuss in detail (and with science) below.

Keep reading


Inbred royals show traces of natural selection

Study suggests the Spanish Habsburgs evolved to mute the effects of inbreeding, but other geneticists are unconvinced.

“King Charles II of Spain was physically and mentally disabled, infertile — and extremely inbred. When he died in 1700, aged 38, so did the male line of the Spanish Habsburg royal family, as famous for their pointed jaws as for their extreme consanguinity.

A provocative analysis now suggests that the Habsburg royal family might have evolved under natural selection over three centuries to blunt the worst effects of inbreeding. Evolutionary theory predicts such a ‘purging’ process, and researchers have documented the effect in animals and plants. But evidence among humans is scant — in part because of the dearth of data on inbred families spanning many generations.

Royal families such as the Habsburgs are an ideal place to look, says Francisco Ceballos, a geneticist at the University of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, who led the research. He and colleague Gonzalo Álvarez used written records to track the marriages, births and deaths of 4,000 individuals across more than 20 generations. “The royal dynasties of Europe are a lab of inbreeding for human populations,” says Ceballos. The team’s study is published this month in Heredity1(read more).

***I’m going with a statistical fluke.

(Source: Nature)