The Oxen Were the Unheralded Heroes of America’s Overland Trails

Over Long Journeys, Westward Migrants Came to Love the 'Noble' Animals They Depended on

Between 1840 and 1869, approximately 300,000 people crossed the United States on their way to settle in Oregon, find gold in California, or practice religion as they desired in Utah. The story of these emigrants, who were soon known as “overlanders,” is well known, taught in every school in the United States. Despite the popularity of Hollywood films on the experience, and even a now-classic 1971 video game, The Oregon Trail, we rarely talk about the animals that took the pioneers west. These draft animals played roles that proved …

Have You Ever Stared Into an Alpaca’s Soul?

Photographer Traer Scott Views Livestock as Individuals Rather Than Numbers

Have you ever felt the direct, penetrating gaze of an alpaca? Or admired the symmetry of a sheep’s fuzzy nose? Or rued the fact that you had never stroked a …

Why Groundhog Day Now Elevates Science Over Superstition

For a UCLA Biologist, Celebrating the Lowly Marmot Could Shed Light on Global Warming

I am a scientist who loves Groundhog Day, that least scientific of holidays. Every February, as Punxsutawney Phil shakes the dust off his coat, emerges from his burrow, glances …

Coyotes Are Just Like Hipsters

They Come to the City for the Good Life, and They Eat Your Rats

Everyone in America has a coyote story. Or if you don’t, give it time. You will.

The tawny, golden-eyed, sharp-nosed wild dog of the American deserts is now our backyard …

Why France Continues to Bitterly Defend Fatty Goose Livers

Despite Controversy, Foie Gras Production Remains a Crucial Entity to the Country's Identity

Vacations to the southwestern countryside have long been a staple of French life. People escape urban centers to visit ancient churches, beautiful gardens, and magnificent castles. They enjoy outdoor activities …

Why Do Americans Put Pets, Not Their Owners, on Trial?

The Bizarre History Behind Our Current Canine Legal System Is Full of Rats, Pigs, and Moles

When a Japanese Akita named Taro bit the lip of a 10-year-old New Jersey girl in 1991, police seized the dog and a judge ordered him destroyed. Taro’s owners appealed …