7 Famous Animals That Helped Shape The Course Of History
1. David Greybeard, a chimpanzee, makes a tool in front of Jane Goodall.
A chimpanzee named David Greybeard "was the first individual I saw making a grass stem to fish termites out of their nest," Jane Goodall writes for National Geographic. Prior to that discovery, only humans had been thought to make and use tools. Upon hearing how David caught termites with a stick, paleontologist Louis Leakey famously remarked: "Now we must redefine tool, redefine Man, or accept chimpanzees as humans."
2. Napoleon's horse, Marengo, carries the French ruler to victory.
The gray Arabian horse Marengo carried Napoleon through several furious battles, including the eponymous "Battle of Marengo," where the outnumbered French repelled an Austrian attack. "The victory cemented Napoleon's position as ruler of France," historian Jill Hamilton writes.
3. Pickles the black and white Collie finds the missing World Cup trophy.
After a burglar stole the World Cup trophy, on display in England in 1966, British police were stumped. But a week later, Pickles was out for a jaunt with his owner when the collie began sniffing under a bush. Hidden beneath the shrub, wrapped in a newspaper, was the gold-plated cup.4. Cher Ami, a homing pigeon, saves 200 soldiers in World War I.[Image credit: Burdr]
After a burglar stole the World Cup trophy, on display in England in 1966, British police were stumped. But a week later, Pickles was out for a jaunt with his owner when the collie began sniffing under a bush. Hidden beneath the shrub, wrapped in a newspaper, was the gold-plated cup.
4. Cher Ami, a homing pigeon, saves 200 soldiers in World War I.
In World War I, a group of American soldiers had lost their way in northern France. Behind enemy lines -- and suddenly under friendly fire -- the soldiers released three homing pigeons to alert their fellow Americans to their presence. Despite being blinded in an eye, the pigeon Cher Ami made it through. The shelling stopped, and 200 Americans made it to safety.
5. Trim the cat helps uncover a continent.
It wasn't until the 18th century that Australia was confirmed to be a continent instead of a giant group of islands. Onboard the HMS Reliance, Trim the cat kept Captain Matthew Flinders' spirits high as he successfully circumnavigated the continent. Sailing came naturally to Trim -- when he fell overboard, the cat grabbed hold of a rope "like a man and ran up it like a cat," Captain Flinders said.
6. Kathy, a dolphin who played Flipper, sparks the fight against the Taiji slaughter.
One of the three dolphins who played Flipper on the television series, Kathy died in front of her trainer, Ric O'Barry. Kathy convinced O'Barry of dolphins' high cognitive and emotional intelligence, leading the former trainer to fight the Taiji dolphin hunt along with "The Cove," the documentary that brought the slaughter to international light.
7. Without Max the pig, we wouldn't have George Clooney.
George Clooney says he owes his life to his pet potbellied pig, Max. The actor tells Hello Magazine that three minutes before an earthquake, "Max woke me up and kept nudging me, like he was trying to warn me. That's how smart he is." On behalf of "O Brother, Where Art Thou?" fans everywhere, thank you, Max.