1/24/2011

item 1 >>> Now Playing…  horse in striped PJs Remember this one? Betcha do!

item 2 >>> LQQK @ †h∆†! love me 4 a reason and   crazy horses Well, if you hate the Osmonds, tuff noogies, it’s my blog. They really were the real deal…check these 2 videos…on “Crazy Horses,” Donny’s on the keyboard, Jay’s the main singer and Merrill is on bass. There’s another version of this on You Tube with Merrill on drums, but still miked so he can sing his part. And that’s Merrill on lead on “Love Me For a Reason”…one of the most underrated rock singers ever. These guys were pros all the way…BTW, I saw the Cowsills in the Summer of 1969 at the Beverly Community Theatre…and they could play their instruments too!

item 3 >>> The Horse in Striped Pajamas…I don’t normally do too much crossing over between this blog and Stolf’s Blog (link below), but I need to get Zebras out of my system. So from Stolf’s Blog of 1/19, here’s a review of the 3 species of Zebras…with some elaboration and some other stuff. BTW, I didn’t do this multi-colored Zebra illustration, but I’ve noticed over the past decade or so, the Zebra has become more common as a graphic motif, perhaps spurred by the surprising persistence and popularity of faux Leopard prints…fashionable, and real not faux, up thru the 1960s…tacky to the max in the 70s, a punk statement in the 80s, and now a fashion fixture in the designer’s bag of tricks. Funny that tiger-stripes haven’t kept pace…they were big for a while in the 60s, as I recall.

item 4 >>> Zebras 1, 2, 3…There are 3 existing species today, and they can be distinguished by their body-types. The most widespread is the Common or Plains Zebra, of which there are 5 distinct subspecies, inhabiting a large area of southern and south-central Africa. They are the smallest Zebra, pony-like in configuration, and the most often seen in zoos. “Generic” illustrations of Zebras are usually Plains or based on them…they are the “classic” Zebra. Mountain or Hartmann’s Zebras are larger, more horse-like, and confined to several small regions in southern and southwestern Africa. Finally, the mule-like Grevy’s Zebra is the largest, found only in Ethiopia and Somalia. And again, while general size and morphology differ, to the casual observer (like us!) the easiest way to tell them apart is by stripe pattern.

item 5 >>> In Black and White…Now individual Zebras of the same species can vary quite a bit in their striped coats, but there are 3 simple rules…follow them and you can’t go wrong…you’ll be virtually a Zebra expert…dare I say a “Zebra-Spotter”? No, I guess I’d better not. But the key to distinguishing between the 3 species of Zebra is to look at the hindquarters, especially around the tail and rump…what do you see? Then apply the following 3 rules…

RULE 1…Grid-iron…Only the Mountain Zebra (above) has the thin striped pattern at the tail, running horizontal to the spine…resembling the hash-marks on a football field, or train-tracks. You may read that only the Mountain Zebra has a white belly, but this is untrue…all 3 species can.


RULE 2…Target rump…Only Grevy’s Zebra (above) has a white rump with a solid black stripe, and thin concentric stripes radiating out from it, like a target. Also, Grevy’s is the only species that will never have broad thick hindquarter stripes…all its stripes are very narrow and close together.

RULE 3…Anything else… i.e. no grid-iron and no target…that’s the Common or Plains Zebra. And “anything else” can cover a lot of ground! The “classic” Plains Zebra subspecies is seen in the single picture(above). The “variations” (below) show 2 features that are found only in Plains Zebras…the loss of stripes towards the rear and down the legs…and the brownish colored “shadow’ stripes. And as seen in (A) on the top of the rump…and in the close-up (B) along the underside…those stripes can take some crazy twists and turns!

item 6 >>> Hitch Your Zebra to a Star…Now you may have noticed that the Zebra was never domesticated. As a species they simply didn’t take to it, as wild European horses and African Wild Asses did…but Asiatic Wild Asses also didn’t. And don’t think people didn’t try, because central and southern Africa is home to the tse tse fly, and the horse is particularly susceptible to the “sleeping sickness” it carries, dying within weeks of infection. Mules less so, but still not ideal, so in addition to the Asses, Zebras would have been a natural. Turns out the 3 species of Zebra do differ in temperament. The large Grevy’s Zebra, while never domesticated, is easier to tame, and was often used as a draught animal in Somalia and Ethiopia. The southern Plains and Mountain Zebras are tougher, altho not impossible, as seen in this photo from the late 1800s, when there was a Zebra fad in the UK. And using the 3 Rules, you can confirm the Zebras (above left) are Grevy’s…and those (below) are Plains.

item 7 >>> Crazy Quasi-Zebras…Dunno if they still do it, but when I was a kid, books on mammals always included the Quagga. This was a extinct type of Zebra that lived in great numbers in South Africa…the last one died in an Amsterdam zoo in 1883. Probably it was always included because what other animal with hair and mammary glans began with the letter Q? Well, the Quoll…that’s a marsupial carnivore, sort of a junior version of the Tasmanian Devil. The Quagga had stripes only on the front of its body, and had darker hindquarters, as you can see (below) in the 2 top pictures. At the time of its extinction, it was believed the Quagga was a separator species of the genus Equus. Today it is known to be a subspecies of the Plains Zebra, and as such, there is the possibility of “bringing it back” thru selective breeding. The Quagga Project began in South Africa in 1987, but despite reducing the extent of stripes, they’re not really close…you can judge from the bottom picture…the foal is the best so far, but the non-striped hindquarters should be dark, not light.

item 8 >>>…Ze What?…Horses and Zebra can hybridize, and folks have been at it for centuries, but on a very small scale, because it’s so difficult: the number of chromosomes don’t match. Back in the day, we called them Zebroids…today, the common term is Zorse. And the hot Zorse these days is one whose horse parent is a pinto, inspired by the birth of Eclypse in Germany in 2007. In the pictures (below), clockwise…a typical Zebroid…Eclypse from one side…Eclypse from the other side…and another typical…what?…Zinto?

item 9 >>> We Need More White-Out…Like most vertebrates…mammals, birds, reptiles and amphibians especially…Zebras can be albinos. Thing is, the striped pattern is so strong, it’s genetically difficult to erase it altogether…consequently, zoologists often use the term “white phase” instead. Aren’t these pictures (below) something?

item 10 >>> And as mentioned back in item 3…the zebra motif has become a popular graphic icon, and you get no complains from me, obviously…I love ’em!

Wicked Ballsy

Can I shake the Zebra off my back by moving on to an albino of another stripe? Well, almost…see tomorrow’s report on Clarabell’s stripes. But as for this picture…wow!


Podcasts at http://stolfpod.podbean.com and   http://thewholething.podbean.com

Other Daily blog at http://stolf.wordpress.com (Stolf’s Blog)

More bloggage at http://travelingcyst.blogspot.com and  http://www.examiner.com/retro-pop-culture-in-watertown/mark-john-astolfi

Resume and audio samples at http://home.rr.com/mastolfi

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