The Snow Coyotes of Newfoundland

Coyotes only reached New England in the 1950s, and Newfoundland in 1985. Since arriving at Newfoundland, though, they have adapted and thrived, going from an estimated three founders to over several thousand. And in 2003, a new coyote suddenly appeared: the white coyotes. Nicknamed "snow coyotes" they are few in number on Newfoundland. Only three have been scientifically studied, but what they said was fascinating.

First, the snow coyotes' white fur does not appear to be the result of albinism, where the animal cannot produce any pigment. Gene sequencing shows that the white coyotes have two copies of a specific gene, and some dark coyotes have one copy of that gene, meaning snow coyotes are the product of a recessive coat-color gene. That makes the snow coyotes similar to artic foxes or polar bears, whose genes specifically make their coats snow-white, while leaving their eyes and skin able to produce pigment. What makes this genetic finding particularly interesting is that the exact same coat-color gene has been found before: in golden retrievers. Scientists believe that the gene mutation occurred when a coyote mated with a golden retriever on Newfoundland.

A Stunning Soviet Map of NYC

The USSR military had extremely accurate maps of almost the entire world. This is their 1982 map of New York City, with Lower Manhattan in the upper right-hand corner, and Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty in the mid-left side. The map even includes the dimensions, and building materials, of the bridges.

Chupícuaro Female Figure

The distinctive Chupícuaro style was recovered from a site covered by a reservoir in 1948 to supply water for Mexico City, where later salvage operations found a number of Chupícuaro style artifacts. The Chupícuaro region is northwest of Mexico City, about a four hour drive. It had longstanding cultural and trade connections with the Valley of Mexico beginning as early as 200 BCE, indicated by similarities in ceramic figural art traditions from both regions.

This ceramic female figure is a beautiful example of Chupícuaro mortuary figures dating to between 300 BCE and 100 CE. Burials of members of the Chupícuaro elite typically included a large number of female figures. Their worldview linked death with fertility, as a central precept of the Mesoamerican ideology of death, transformation, and regeneration. Death was not the end, but part of the cycle. This sculpture's striking body paint is typical of Chupícuaro figures. Her short pants (or possibly body painting) feature a combined vertical and horizontal patterning that suggests a highly developed weaving tradition. Sadly, actual examples of the region's weaving have sadly has not survived.

Not Sure What This Octopus’ Expression Is

While mostly an octopus, each of its legs ends in a catfish head, and it also has two claw-like feet. Meaning it has ten legs total? I think?

This Moche frontlet would have been worn on a headdress, to scare all who saw the wearer. Circa 300 - 600 CE.

Frederick Branch was the first African-American to become an officer in the US Marine Corps. After being drafted in 1943, he applied for Officer Candidate School, but was turned down, even though President Roosevelt signed Executive Order 8802 in 1941, which prohibited racial discrimination by any government agency. So Branch served in the Marines in a supply unit in the Pacific, where his performance earned him the recommendation of his commanding officer. Branch then attended officer's training in the Navy V-12 program at Purdue University. He was the only African-American in a class of 250. After graduating he was commissioned as a second lieutenant on November 10, 1945 -- but as the officer for a segregated unit.

The photograph is Branch with his wife.

"Never do today what you can do tomorrow. Something may occur to make you regret your premature action."

Aaron Burr (1756 – 1836) American politician and vice president who killed Alexander Hamilton in a duel and was, for a separate reason, charged with treason but found not guilty.

Sexism and Lobotomies

Unfortunately, and unsurprisingly, women were disproportionately given lobotomies during the psychiatric procedure's heyday. From the 1940s through the mid-1950s, men slightly outnumbered women as patients in American state hospitals, yet female patients made up about 60 percent of those who underwent lobotomy. Many psychiatrists believed it was easier to return women after operation to a life of domestic duties at home than it was to post-operatively rehabilitate men for a career as a wage earner.

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    By Lillian Audette

    This blog is a collection of the interesting, the weird, and sometimes the need-to-know about history, culled from around the internet. It has pictures, it has quotes, it occasionally has my own opinions on things. If you want to know more about anything posted, follow the link at the "source" on the bottom of each post. And if you really like my work, buy me a coffee or become a patron!

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