A few years ago, I went to Florence, Italy. Florence is an amazing city, bursting with some of the world’s most famous and masterful art. I spent a day roaming the halls of the Uffizi (one of the oldest art museums in Europe). My eyes were delighted at every turn: Della Francesca, Lippi, Botticelli, Titian, Raphael, Michelangelo, and Caravaggio.
Let’s discuss one Caravaggio piece in particular that I traveled thousands of miles to see with my own two eyeballs: Medusa, the serpent-headed Gorgon from Greek mythology. According to the myths, Medusa was a spectacular beauty. She was so lovely that the god of the sea, Poseidon, dared to have his way with her in Athena’s temple (goddess of wisdom, justice, the arts, math, inspiration, etc.). This made Athena really mad, so she turned Medusa’s hair into serpents and her face into grossness. Her face was so gross that if you looked upon it, you would turn to stone. I’ve always been fascinated with this character and her snakey hair.
The Bukharan Markho is a large species of wild goat that lives in the rocky cliffs of Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Kashmir. Male and female of the species have long, corkscrew-like horns spreading toward the sky. In fact, their name derives from mar, the Persian word for snake, and khor, meaning eating. Those horns look like snakes coiling out from their heads much like Medusa, except, unfortunately, when most people see a Bukharan Markho they don’t turn to stone. They usually try to shoot the poor animal, which is why it is endangered.
I’m all for it turning hunters into stone. That would be great because then they could use the petrified hunters to walk around on to get from place to place. Like human steppingstones.
If you are ever in Great Britain, you will see a Blackfaced Sheep. They are the country’s most common breed of sheep and the Brits do love sheep. They love to eat them. And also to wear wool. The first known records of the breed go back to the twelfth century, but were probably around way before that.
Scottish Blackface Sheep are devoted mothers to their baby lambs:
Which are clearly adorable.
If you haven’t figured it out: the sheep are named after their black faces. But they are also known by a few other names: Scotties, Scotch Horn, Blackface, Scottish Mountain, Blackies, Highland Sheep. Both male and female sport horns which is convenient in domestic disputes. They are also considered smarter than the average breed of sheep and are able to tough out really terrible weather conditions. Hey. Here is a question: why is it that if I wash a wool sweater it will shrink, but a sheep is wearing wool in the rain all the time and it doesn’t get smaller?
Get back to me on that.
Around 4000 B.C.E., Egyptians and other dwellers of the Nile Valley had a thing for cattle, so much so that they drew pictures of them on monuments and inside caves.
Even though they don’t produce much milk, the Ankole-Watusi have mainly been used as dairy cattle. Their milk is high in fat and is considered very valuable in East Africa. Their most distinctive feature is their humongous horns, which can easily grow to six feet in length. The horns are used for three purposes:
- Defense against predators such as hyenas
- Keeping cool in the hot African weather by circulating blood (acting like a radiator)
- Looking awesome
In the wild, Watusi cattle like hanging out with other Watusi and at night will form a protective “horns out” circle (the calves protected in the center). The breed was brought to America in the 1960s and has been successfully living in Freedom & Liberty ever since.
The Black Rhinoceros has a prehensile upper lip, which it uses like a mouth-finger to eat plants. It has two horns, sometimes three, on it’s face. They look like total bad-asses because of their large size and horny faces. The males are looking for trouble; they will charge at anything they perceive as a threat, be it another male, a human walking around looking for directions, GIANT ant-mounds minding their own business, or threatening tree trunks.
The Black rhinoceros is considered CRITICALLY endangered, in other words, almost extinct. This is because they have hunted by human-apes for their horns. Because their horns are pretty. Not because humans NEED their horns for survival, but because they ENJOY the LOOK of them.
Hey. Hey, Human. Why don’t you grown your own horn instead of coveting everyone else’s? Or HEY! I have an idea, use plastic or wood or something. Maybe, I’m going to hunt YOU and use your pinky finger bones for something I totally don’t need like a sandwich toothpick. You jerks.