BBC Wildlife January 2011

BBC Wildlife Jan 2011 cover

Today I read the BBC Wildlife magazine, and in it the featured article was Why Dogs Rule the World. The article, written by Steve Harris, explained why dogs are so widespread and popular. It dealt with the prehistory, the habitat, and origin of domesticated canines. Sticking to the belief that everything in the article is indisputably true, today's most widely distributed land mammal is the red fox, found in 83 countries and on five continents. It used to be the grey wolf, however, persecution forced him to step down from his crown. Canids (dog family) first arrived approximately forty million years ago on what is now known as North America. It is believed canids have thrived for so long because a few distinct traits. They have what the article called a 'pair bond', meaning they live and work together, and even if some canids do not, they are adaptable enough to know when to share and contribute. Most canids can rear large litters of eight or more pups because the male provides for the female and the little 'uns. This allows the population to stay stable regardless of massive persecution. In contrast, cats can only rear small litters of threes, as the female must take care of them unaided. This makes felines more susceptible to a decrease in population with hunting.

Image found page 48

Another thing which aids canids to thrive in any environment is their non-fussy take on food. For this reason, fennec foxes can live in deserts, and coyotes can live in towns. Their varied diets also mean they survive the change in the seasons; Summer food is very different from what is found in winter.
The article also covered several myths and legends surrounding early wolves and foxes. It was a very good read, and I definitely recommend it, if not for the information, then for the breathtaking images decorating the pages. I bought this magazine and read it on my Galaxy Tab. Although I will always prefer paper to screen, this was relatively easy and pleasant to read on a screen.

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