The name ram is used for the male of all types and breeds of sheep. We are familiar with numerous types of sheep which live freely in nature, and many breeds which have been reared by man. The males fight among themselves for dominance of the females by butting each other with their foreheads, which are reinforced by a powerfully strengthened bone. The males carry on butting until the weaker one gives way. The powerful clashing of two males can cause injury to the skin above the eyes, frequently resulting in bleeding.
The moufflon is the smallest of the wild sheep, and was initially widespread on Sardinia and Corsica.« It weighs up to 55 kg, and has horns up to 65 cm in length. The largest of the wild sheep, known as argali, is widespread in Asia. It weighs up to 200 kg, with horns up to 1.5 m long. The mane-backed sheep is commonly found in Africa. It weighs up to 145 kg, with horns up to 84 cm long. Another wild sheep is the thick-horned sheep from North America. It weighs up to 125 kg, with horns weighing up to 14 kg, i. e. as much as the weight of its skeleton.
The sheep was reared by man from the moufflon. Its domestication began around 7500 BC in the lands between the Euphrates and the Tigris. It was raised on account of its skin, milk, meat and fleece from which wool is derived.
Living on Earth today, there are approximately 2 billion domestic sheep, which means 1 sheep to 3 people.
The bull is the name used for males of all breeds of cattle. We know of various types of cattle which live freely in nature, and many domesticated breeds which have been raised by man. Water buffaloes live in South Asia. Bulls can weigh up to 1.2 tons, and the span between their horns can be greater than 2 m. Kaffir buffaloes live in central Africa, and weigh up to 700 kg. American bison live in North America, and weigh up to 1000 kg. Before settlement by the Europeans, there were around 50 million-bison living there. However, as a consequence of man's hunting and profiteering, they were almost completely exterminated. They survived only in two national parks. After becoming protected by law, their population increased, amounting today to about 150.000.
Domestic cattle were raised from types of wild bison from around 3000 BC. Bison had been living in Europe since the Pliocene. The last representative of the species died in Poland in 1627. During the 1930s, in Germany, they succeeded in raising cattle by reverse cross-breeding, which by their outward features were similar to bison, but did not attain the height of wild bison, i. e. 1.8 m. So, already at that time, it had been demonstrated that it is not possible to revive extinct animal species.
Cattle were domesticated for their milk and meat. They were also used for labour. Bulls of the domestic breeds can weigh up to 1600 kg.
At present, worldwide, there are more than 1.3 billion domestic cattle.
The Slovenian breed is the red mottled cattle. They are raised in Bohinj and elsewhere on the alpine pastures. They are of dark brown colour with large white patches. This is a smaller-sized breed, modest yet resilient, which is why it can survive in the central mountain region.
|In Slovenia, approximately 1% of all births are twins. Twins are more often born to mothers who have been given various forms of treatment to aid with conception. On average, twins are born one month earlier than single children of the same age. Already during pregnancy and shortly after birth, the risk of twins being prone to illness is at least twice as great as it is for single children. For birth with twins, the proportion of those by caesarian section is three times greater than for single children. (Most obstetricians regard twins as a special type of pregnancy which is not »physiologically« innate to the human species.) For this very reason, before giving birth pregnant women are placed in larger maternity wards where they (and the newborn) can be provided with better postnatal care. Most twins are born from two-egg cells: the two egg cells are each fertilized by their own sperm. This is why two-egg twins can be of different sexes and, furthermore, why in principle they differ more than do single-egg twins. The fertilization of a single-egg cell with sperm, and the later division of the embryo leads, however, to variants (important for the obstetrician) of the single-cell twins (who have the same sex and are in principle identical). The occurrence of single egg twins is similar worldwide, while that of two-egg twins may be different. In Slovenia -i.e. in the so-called western world - the proportion of births with single-egg twins is approximately 1/3, and with two-egg twins 2/3.|
There exist around 38,000 different species of crabs. Crabs dwell mainly in seawater or freshwater, although some also live on dry land. In size they differ greatly. Crabs range in size from, on the one hand, the 3 mm water fleas which are scarcely visible to the naked eye, and on the other hand to lobsters with the largest length of carapace measuring up to one metre. The largest lobsters weigh up to 20 kg and have 10 pairs of legs.
The sea-flea lives in the Adriatic sea. In summer, it multiplies so greatly that it represents as much as 68 % of all planktonic organisms. In one cubic metre of seawater there can live as many as 96,000 sea-fleas. The Japanese sea-spider is the largest crustacean in the world, and is classified among the crabs. Its carapace actually measures only 50 cm, but its legs can measure up to 1.5 m, and it can weigh up to 14 kg. Some crabs can lay up to 40,000 eggs a year.
On the Easter Islands, there may be found 100 million red crabs which live on dry land, while in the sea they only mate and lay their eggs.
The »coconut thief« is the largest land crab, weighing up to 4 kg. As the name suggests, it feeds on coconuts. It prefers the young, still unripe fruit, which it searches for on the ground or by climbing up the coconut palm. This three-eyed crab is up to 4 cm long and has 70 pairs of legs.
The 5 cm »cleaning-shrimp« feeds on decaying fragments of fish skin and the skin parasites of fish.
Crabs also live underground. In the underground waters of the Dinaric Karst there are numerous cave-shrimps, which are milky white to translucent, blind, and with extended feelers. They measure up to 3 cm in length.
Lions spend 20 hours a day sleeping and resting, while for four hours they are prowling and searching for food. Since a meat diet is energetically richer, they require less time for feeding than do herbivores. Lions are the only feline species that lives in a group or »pride«. The pride usually consists of an adult male, various older females and their young. When the leading male grows old he is ousted by a younger male, who first kills all the cubs, thus ensuring the continuation of his genes. Within the pride, the work is divided. The females hunt in a pack for their prey, while the males protect the living space from intruders. Lions can weigh up to 250 kg.
The roaring of lions can be heard at a distance of up to 10 km.
Since lions have a small heart in relation to their body mass, they are not able to keep running for long. At a speed of 65 km/h they can run for only around 200 m.
In the wild, lions live for about 10 years, while in zoos they can survive for 20 years or even more.
In the past, lions also lived in a great part of Europe and Asia. Eurasian lions have survived only in the forest of Gir in northwest India, where today there are 200 to 300.
The virgin is a woman who has not yet had genital sexual relations. This is why, in the vestibule (lat. vestibulum) of the vagina, the so-called virgin skin (lat. hymen) is still intact. During genital sexual intercourse the hymen is breached (lat. defloratio). So much for the theory. Actually, in most women the hymen is a scarcely visible part of the mucous membrane, of various shapes, which only partly closes the vagina. A full hymen, fully closing the vagina, is fortunately rare. Fortunately, for this would prevent the flow of menstrual blood, which then accumulates in the vagina (haematocolpos) or possibly also in the womb (baematometra); in this case, one is dealing with a medical condition which requires treatment. In all human cultures, virginity has a special significance. Beside the mystification of virginity, which is related to sexuality, more important is its symbolic significance.
Virginity - as the ideal of sexual and spiritual purity, the immaculate and the holy, full of yearning and expectation. The virgin is the archetype of man - of course, a woman - who incarnates the gentle, spiritualised yearning for the good, which is characteristic of all humankind.
|The scales are an instrument by which we determine the mass of a body. But what, actually, do the scales measure? They measure the force with which a body presses down on the weighing-pan of the balance. And why does the body actually exert pressure on the balance? Because between each body and the Earth a force of attraction is operating. Therefore, we can say that the scales measure the force with which the Earth attracts the body we are weighing. Yet, if we are to be precise, we must also take account of a further force -the upward thrust or buoyancy. The air pressure which acts on the lower part of the body is slightly greater than the pressure which acts on the upper part of the body. Therefore, it is the upward thrust that acts on the body; this is directed upwards and counter to the weight. Consequently, if we place on the scales a body with a large volume, the scales will show a slightly lesser weight than should be indicated. But don't be happy too soon. For an adult man with a mass of 80 kg, the scales would show only 80 g less than they should.|
|Scorpions are arachnids which, together with spiders, ticks and mites, are included in the class of arachnoida. In evolutionary terms, they are an old group of creatures which have been inhabiting the Earth for more than 400 million years and which first appeared in the Silurian. There are around 1800 known species. Scorpions have a body similar in shape to that of crabs, with large pincers (pedipalpi) and a characteristic upturned tail, the tip of which contains a poisonous gland and a sting. Although all scorpions are poisonous, only about 25 species have a poison that is also dangerous for humans. The most poisonous type of scorpion, which can also kill people, is considered to be the thick-tailed Androctonus crassicauda, which lives in the Near East. Its family name, derived from the Greek, in literal translation means »killer of people« most scorpions live in dry or even desert regions, particularly in Mexico, North Africa and the Near East. The largest scorpion is considered to be the African emperor scorpion (Pandinus imperator), which grows to about 20 cm, while the smallest species are probably scorpions from the Microtityus family, which measure merely about 12 mm.|
If an archer were to fling an arrow by hand, it would fly scarcely further than 10 m. However, the arrow which the same archer could shoot with a bow could fly 100 m or even further. So, does the bow save the archer some work or effort? No! In reality, it actually wastes some effort.
The work or effort that the archer puts in as he slowly draws back the arrow, thus changing the shape of the bow, is transformed into the kinetic energy of the arrow (energy of the movement of the arrow), while some of it is used for warming up the bow. What, then, is the purpose of the bow? When the archer tenses the bow, he is slowly drawing the bowstring by force, and thus changing the shape of the bow. When the archer releases the bowstring, it accelerates the arrow at a far greater speed than the archer could attain by waving his hand. That is why the arrow flies very far. The bow enables the archer slowly - and over a long time - to perform his work, and then he transfers part of that work to the arrow - in a short time - yet at great speed.
he Alpine mountain-goats live on the open rocky terrain above the forest-line, at altitudes up to 3200 metres. Leaping from the spot, they can spring 2 m high, and with a running jump as high as 4 m. They are agile in climbing over precipitous rock faces. In winter they are threatened by snowslides.
In the Alps, the Alpine goat had been almost completely exterminated. It survived only in the Gran Paradiso national park in Italy, from where it was reintroduced throughout the Alps. All the Alpine goats living today are the offspring of those goats. The Alpine ibex is most probably not a native species to Slovenia. In 1890 it was introduced here by Baron Jurij Born.
The males have horns measuring up to 1.2 metres in length. These they use in combats for the females, digging for food beneath the snow, and for scratching their backs.
The mountain goat is a herbivore and ruminant. Its food contains cellulose, which is difficult to digest and can be broken down only by millions of bacteria and monocytes which live in its digestive tract. Together with the plant food, mountain goats also digest bacteria and monocytic organisms.
Mountain goats weigh up to 115 kg and live up to 17 years. Representatives of the wild goat species are also wide-spread elsewhere in the world. The snow-goat lives in North America, and weighs up to 140 kg. The Bezoar goat lives in west Asia, and weighs up to 95 kg. Domestic goats have been reared from the Bezoaran since 7000 BC in Iran and Iraq. They are raised mainly for their milk, meat and fleece.
There was a time when water bearers took water from the stream and brought it in earthenware pitchers to the house. Today, water runs through the water pipes when the tap is turned on. In what way is the water that the water bearers carried different from the water that flows from the tap? First, we may think of water pollution. Nowadays, this can be caused by various waste deposits and fertilizers, while in the past it was caused by solvents from the material of which the pitcher was made. And more still!
The water which runs through the pipes is under raised pressure. The pressure in the water pipes is usually between four and six bars (normal air pressure measures only one bar). On account of the increased pressure, the water in the supply system contains dissolved gases which are not present in the stream water. When water flows through the tap, the dissolved gases are gradually released from it. We can see this for ourselves by pouring tap water into a glass. After a short while, we will notice that tiny bubbles collect on the side.
|Fish are the simplest of vertebrates. Their bodies are adapted to living in water and are covered with scales. They are of very different shapes and sizes. Known to us are about 23,000 species of freshwater and seawater fish. These are divided into fringe-finned, cartilaginous (sharks, skate and rays), and bony fish. In evolutionary terms, the oldest are the fringe-finned and the sharks, which had already appeared in the Devonian, about 400 million years ago. At present, the largest living fish is considered to be the whale shark, which feeds on plankton; it can reach a length of around 13 m and weighs up to 36 tons. The smallest fish, the Philippine blind carp of the Paedocypris progenetica species, measures only 8 mm. On account of over fishing, many species of fish are endangered on a global scale, which is especially true for the blue fin tuna and the beluga from the sturgeon family. Most species of fish live on coral reefs. In the region with the greatest biotic diversity, i. e. in the seas around Malaysia, Indonesia and the Philippines, there live around 2500 species of fish, many of which have extraordinary shapes and colour patterns.|