Lucky, The World's Oldest Sheep, Dies

oldest sheep

Lucky, the world’s oldest sheep, has died after succumbing to the effects of a heatwave in southern Australia. The 23-year-old ewe, recognised by the Guinness Book of Records, died peacefully on her farm at Lake Bolac, 57 miles west of Melbourne, after a short illness. Lucky’s owner Delrae Westgarth says her beloved sheep had found the recent hot weather in Victoria hard to endure.”It’s a relief,” said Mrs Westgarth. “She was good up to that first lot of heatwaves we had. But she went downhill a bit from then.” The Westgarths, who rescued Lucky as a newborn lamb after she was abandoned by her mother, recently invested in air-conditioning for their elderly pet, but even this couldn’t save her.

“We brought her into the shed where she was reared and put air conditioners on her,” according to Mrs Westgarth. “That kept her going a bit longer.” Mrs Westgarth and her husband Frank admitted that looking after their pet sheep – a Polwarth-Dorchester cross — had become almost a full-time job.

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Lucky, The World's Oldest Sheep, Dies

oldest sheep

Lucky, the world’s oldest sheep, has died after succumbing to the effects of a heatwave in southern Australia. The 23-year-old ewe, recognised by the Guinness Book of Records, died peacefully on her farm at Lake Bolac, 57 miles west of Melbourne, after a short illness. Lucky’s owner Delrae Westgarth says her beloved sheep had found the recent hot weather in Victoria hard to endure.”It’s a relief,” said Mrs Westgarth. “She was good up to that first lot of heatwaves we had. But she went downhill a bit from then.” The Westgarths, who rescued Lucky as a newborn lamb after she was abandoned by her mother, recently invested in air-conditioning for their elderly pet, but even this couldn’t save her.

“We brought her into the shed where she was reared and put air conditioners on her,” according to Mrs Westgarth. “That kept her going a bit longer.” Mrs Westgarth and her husband Frank admitted that looking after their pet sheep – a Polwarth-Dorchester cross — had become almost a full-time job.

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Otto! Near 21, He’s Now World’s Oldest Dog

OLDEST DOG

This old dog may not be learning any new tricks, but he now holds the title as the world’s longest-lived pooch.Otto, a dachshund-terrier mix, is 20 years and 8 months old — that’s about 145 in dog years, his owners estimate — and he is being recognized for his great age by Guinness World Records.

Lynn Jones, 53, of Shrewsbury, England, has owned Otto since he was six weeks old. She and her husband, Peter, contacted Guinness after the previous record-holder, Chanel — also a dachshund mix — recently died at age 21. So what’s Otto’s secret for longevity? Love, good food and regular trips to the vet, the couple say. Still, the pet now suffers from arthritis and is no longer as active as he was in his younger days.
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Oldest Cat, Caterack, Dies At 30

old cat

How does one cope with the death of a beloved pet who’s been a constant companion for 30 years? “I have made myself stay real busy to adapt to it,” Alisa Morris, the owner of Caterack, a 30 year-old cat who died last Thursday, told Paw Nation. “It’s been hard and I miss her terribly. I’ve had several animals in my life, but Caterack was the icing on the cake.”

In 1979, Morris adopted a 5-week-old feral kitten found near her mother’s house in Texas. Morris’s mother claimed that there was “something special” about the kitten that was blind in the left eye, and begged Morris to adopt it. Morris agreed, and named the kitty Caterack.Sadly, as Caterack got older she developed kidney problems, then arthritis. Morris started feeding Caterack wet food because it was the only thing the elderly cat could keep down, reports PEOPLEPets.com. In Caterack’s final days, “she wasn’t doing good,” Morris said. “She wasn’t bathing herself or keeping herself clean and she laid down real slow.”
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Baxter, The Oldest Known Working Therapy Dog, Dies

BAXTER

After a career of bringing peace to critically ill children and adults, Baxter, the oldest known working therapy dog, “eased peacefully from this life” on Friday, according to a posting on his Web site. At 19 years old, the senior pup was the subject of owner Melissa Joseph’s touching book Moments with Baxter and had been certified with Therapy Dogs International for more than five years.

Despite suffering from arthritis and chronic bronchitis for 10 years, Baxter spent several days a week volunteering at the San Diego Hospice, comforting patients. Joseph first met Baxter in 1991 after a friend rescued him. At just 6 months old, the Chow/Labrador mix showed signs of abuse, was infected with heartworms and his teeth were in bad condition. As Baxter got the care he needed, his personality emerged and he soon became her heart, Joseph wrote on her Web site.

In a profile featured on PEOPLEPets.com just two months ago, the life-long dog owner said Baxter was “the most well-behaved, socialized and compliant” dog she’d ever met.

Moments with Baxter, written by Joseph with photos by her husband Dennis Bussey, is a collection of 36 stories of the dog and the patients whose lives he touched. On July 21, he was honored by San Diego County with his own holiday – Baxter Day.

(source)

Ardi: Oldest Human Ancestor 4.4 Million Years Old

ardi 1

She lived at the dawn of a new era, when chimps and people began walking (or climbing) along their own evolutionary trails. This is Ardi – the oldest member of the human family tree we’ve found so far. Short, hairy and with long arms, she roamed the forests of Africa 4.4million years ago.

Her discovery, reported in detail for the first time today, sheds light on a crucial period when we were just leaving the trees.
‘This is one of the most important discoveries for the study of human evolution,’ said Dr David Pilbeam, curator of palaeoanthropology at Harvard’s Peabody Museum of Archaeology and Ethnology.
‘It is relatively complete in that it preserves head, hands, feet, and some critical parts in between.’

Ardi – short for Ardipithecus ramidus or ‘root of the ground ape’ – stood 4ft tall and weighed 110lb. She lived a million years before the famous Lucy, the previous earliest skeleton of a hominid who was dug up in 1974. Experts believe Ardi is very, very close to the ‘missing link’ common ancestor of humans and chimps, thought to have lived five to seven million years ago.

ardi 3

‘This is not that common ancestor, but it’s the closest we have ever been able to come,’ said Dr Tim White, director of the Human Evolution Research Centre at the University of California, Berkeley, who reports the discovery today in Science. The first fossilised and crushed bones of Ardi were found in 1992 in Ethiopia’s Afar Rift.

But it has taken an international team of 47 scientists 17 years to piece together, analyse and describe the remains.

Ardi’s skeleton had been trampled and scattered, while the skull was crushed to just two inches in height.
Researchers have pieced together 125 fragments of bone – including much of her skull, hands, feet, arms, legs and pelvis – which were dated using the volcanic layers of soil above and below the find.

The results were surprising. Previously, scientists believed that our common ancestor would have been very chimp-like, and that ancient hominids such as Ardi would still have much in common with them.

ardi 2

But she was not suited like a modern- day chimp to swinging or hanging from trees or walking on her knuckles. This suggests that chimps and gorillas developed those characteristics after the split with humans – challenging the idea that they are merely an ‘unevolved’ version of us.

Ardi’s feet were rigid enough to allow her to walk upright some of the time, but she still had a grasping big toe for use in climbing trees.

And she had long arms but short palms and fingers which were flexible, allowing her to support her body weight on her palms. Her upper canine teeth are more like the stubby teeth of modern people than the long, sharp ones of chimps. An analysis of her tooth enamel suggests she ate fruit, nuts and leaves.

Scientists believe she was a female because her skull is relatively small and lightly built. Her teeth were also smaller than other members of the same family that were found later.

Alan Walker, of Pennsylvania Sate University, told Science: ‘These things were very odd creatures. You know what Tim (White) once said: ‘If you wanted to find something that moved like these things you’d have to go to the bar in Star Wars’.’

Since the discovery, scientists have unearthed another 35 members of the Ardipithecus family. Ardi was found in alongside crumbling fossils of 29 species of birds and 20 species of small mammals – including owls, parrots, shrews, bats and mice.

(source)

Otto: Is The New World's Oldest Dog

NEW OLDEST DOG

Meet Otto, the world’s oldest dog, who’s reached the grand old age of 147 in dog years and is still going strong.Dachshund-cross terrier Otto, who lives in Shrewsbury and is 20 years old and six months, looks to have become the top dog after the death of the previous holder aged 21.Chanel, also a Dachshund but from the US, died last month and now Otto is to continue flying the flag for Dachshunds as the world’s oldest canines.

Otto’s owner Peter Jones, from Shrewsbury, Shrops, said despite his great age the plucky dog is still going strong.

Mr Jones, 68, said his wife Lynn, 55, had owned Otto, who has no offspring, since he was a puppy and he is still going strong, although he is battling a few problems including arthritis.They also have a certificate to prove his age and Guinness World Records are now investigating.While 20-year-old humans are in the full flush of youth, the canine calendar works so that dogs age around seven years for every one human year, meaning even pensionable age is a distant memory for Otto.Mr Jones, a retired sales manager, said: ‘When I saw this dog had died and he was the oldest in the world, I thought Otto must be getting on to being the oldest as well.
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