10 animals that changed history
Not all cultural pioneers walk on two legs. Some are covered in wool, some fur, while others are feathered. Read on for amazing acts about our friends from the animal kingdom and how they changed history.
Dolly the sheep proved cloning was possible
On July 5, 1996, this fuzzy little bundle of joy emerged from the belly of one of her three mothers, the first mammal cloned from an adult cell. Dolly’s birth proved that a technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer – a technique in which the cell nucleus from an adult cell is transferred into an unfertilised egg, blasted with electricity, then implanted into a surrogate – could work. Dolly died of a lung disease at age six, but the cloning technique used to produce her was later employed on other larger mammals, including pigs, deer, horses, and bulls.
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Cher Ami the pigeon saved hundreds of American troops
During World War I, the homing pigeon Cher Ami (meaning ‘dear friend’) lived up to her name. Cher Ami delivered 12 messages during her service to the US army signal corps in France, but none was more important than the missive she delivered in early October 1918. On that day, Major Charles White Whittlesey and more than 500 men were trapped behind enemy lines without food or ammunition. Afraid that his battalion would be killed by friendly fire, Whittlesey attempted to send messages to his compatriots via pigeon. The first two birds were shot down, but Cher Ami successfully navigated a barrage of fire to deliver this message, “We are along the road parallel to 276.4. Our own artillery is dropping a barrage directly on us. For heaven’s sake, stop it.” The shelling stopped and the troops were saved. Cher Ami received the Croix de Guerre medal for bravery. Upon her death in 1919, her body was preserved and placed on display at the Smithsonian Institute.