The lion's name is derived from the Latin leo. Among the feline species, lions are the most social, living in prides, consisting of mostly females, cubs, and a few adult males. Lions tendto assume specific roles in the pride, lionesses do the majority of the hunting for their pride, being smaller and more agile than the males. Lions spend much of their time resting, remaining inactive for about 20 hours per day. Adult lions have no natural predat ors, most die from wounds inflicted by other lions.
The most distinctive feature of the male lion is its mane, giving it a larger appearance, enhancing its ability to intimidate other male lions, and animals competing for food, mainly the spotted hyena. With some males reaching 550 pounds, its no wonder they were revered as “the king of the jungle.” Truth is, lions also inhabit savannas, grasslands, brush and forest. Up until about 10,000 years ago, lions were the most widespread large land mammals, aside from humans. Today, lions are rapidly approaching the endangered species list due to loss of habitat and conflict with humans.
The lion head is one of the most popular animal symbols in human culture, dating back as far as the Upper Paleolithic period. A cave painting of two lions mating, found in the Lascaux caves, is believed to be 15,000 years old, and a lion-headed ivory carving from Vogelherd cave in Germany has been dated to be about 32,000 years old! The lioness, being a fierce hunter, was chosen as the Egyptian war deities Bast, Mafdet, Menhit, Pakhet, Sekhmet, Tefnut, and the now famous Sphinx. In Ancient Greece and Rome, the lion was represented as the constellation and zodiac sign Leo. In biblical times, Daniel was delivered from the lion's den. “Singh” is an ancient Indian vedic name meaning "lion", today it is used as a surname by over 20 million Sikhs worldwide.
Lions maintain their popularity as characters in modern literature and film such as: Aslan in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, the Cowardly Lion in The Wonderful Wizard of Oz and Simba, in Disney’s animated feature film The Lion King. From carvings and cave paintings, to national flags and modern film and literature, the symbol and lore of the lion is here to stay. Though feared for its history of attacking humans, ironically, it is us who draw inspiration from them, inspiring such traits as strength, nobility, and courage. Sales pitch.
Most "wild" horses today, such as the American Mustang, are actually feral horses descended from domesticated animals that escaped and adapted to life in the wild. The only true wild horse never to have been successfully domesticated is The Przewalski's Horse (also known as the Mongolian Wild Horse). It is said the domestication of the horse took place in central Asia prior to 3500 BC, and by 2000 BC was completely domesticated.
Horses are "warm-blooded" creatures, however in the context of equine terminology, the term is used to describe temperament, not body temperature. "Hot-bloods" are more sensitive and energetic, such as the Arabian and Thoroughbred breeds. Bred for agility and speed, they are more suitable for riding. The muscular and heavy "cold-bloods" (aka draft horses) are quieter and calmer, bred not only for strength, but also a patient temperament, qualities needed to pull a plow or a heavy carriage. Draft breeds include the Belgian and the Clydesdale, to name a few.
Up until recently, horses were considered unintelligent, due to thier herd mentality. In contrast, modern studies show that horses can perform cognitive tasks, have the ability to solve problems, and are capable of retaining knowledge. Not only do horses excel at simple learning, they are able to solve advanced cognitive challenges such as categorization and concept learning.The horse appeared in prehistoric cave paintings as far back as 16,000 years. A common theme in ancient Egyptian and Grecian art, simplistic rendering gradually evolved into highly detailed, anatomically correct Classical Greek and Roman works. Some of the more famous historic works of equine art include the Standard of Ur (circa 2500BC) and the Horses of Saint Mark.
The first archaeological evidence of horses used in warfare dating back to 4000 BC. Many cultures revolved around the horse, notably, the Mongols of Mongolia, the Huns, and the American Indians of the GreatPlains.Typically nomadic hunter gatherers, these cultures relied heavily on the horse for transportation, hunting, warfare and trading. Today horses are still valued in the workplace for mounted police, on cattle ranches , in search and rescue teams, and hippo therapy (therapeutic horseback riding). It is estimated 100 million horses, donkeys and mules are still used for agriculture andtransportation in less developed areas.
Pegasus is one of the best known equine based creatures in history. Known as “Friend of the Muses”, Pegasus appears in ancient Greek pottery and paintings and sculptures of the Renaissance. The Renaissance period brought a resurgence of the horse in art (previously ushered out by the dominant religious themes), by painters such as Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, and Andrea Mantegna. In recent times, artworks depicting famous contemporary horses, horse racing, historic cowboys, Native American traditions, and fox hunting continue in popularity. Horses have also been celebrated in such feature films as Born to Buck, The Apaloosa, or more recently, The Black Stallion, Seabiscuit, and Hidalgo.