New Mexico's Pet Resource SPRING 2003

THE PETROANIMAL QUIZ

How much do you know about animals? Test your knowledge with these questions. Answers at bottom.

1. From at least 10,000 years ago, long before the arrival of the Europeans, there were domestic dogs living with the human populations in the New World (in both North and South America). From the archaeological evidence we know that there were dogs present in almost every pueblo in New Mexico. Which breeds of dog today are directly traceable back to these native, original American dogs?

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2. What is the state bird of New Mexico: raven, pinyon jay, golden eagle, rio grande turkey, or roadrunner?

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3. What is the easiest way you can tell if your dog has a fever? She has a dry nose, wet feet, pants heavily, has hot ears, she growls when you approach.

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ANSWERS:

1. For practical purposes all the strains of the original native American dogs are now extinct. Over the last five hundred years the pool of original American canine genes has been overwhelmed by the flood of dogs imported from the Old World. To quote the Fall 2002 issue of AMERICAN ARCHAEOLOGY; "By the late 19th century… this aboriginal dog was all but bred out of existence both through natural interbreeding with European dogs and purposeful cross-breeding for desired traits." So it is in New Mexico today, not one of the varieties of Canis familiaris can trace his lineage back to early American antecedents.

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2. The state bird of New Mexico was designated on March 16, 1949, and it is the Chaparral Bird or el correcaminos, also known as the roadrunner. It can achieve ground speeds of up to 20 miles per hour, and is capable of flight, though preferring to wing it only for short distances. Its scientific name is Geococcyx californianus. The genus name, geococcyx, translates to "earth-cuckoo", given because of this cuckoo's propensity to remain earthbound. (That other "coccyx", the one that humans have, was named for its resemblance to the cuckoo's bill.) The New Mexico state bird may be "the californian" roadrunner, but, Warner Brothers cartoons notwithstanding, our state mammal is NOT the coyote. Give yourself partial credit on this question if you picked the pinyon jay. The pinyon, yes. The jay, no. The Pinus edulis or pinyon pine is the New Mexico state tree.

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3. Hold her ears. The temperature of her ears are an excellent measure of her body temperature. If they feel hot, something's not right.

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Sources:
New Mexico State Legislature handbook, 2003
American Archaeology, Vol.6 No.3, Fall 2002


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