Yaks: The Himalayan Cow

The domesticated Yak or the Tartary ox is a type of cattle found in the Himalayas. This long-haired animal looks extremely similar to a buffalo but is found halfway across the world. The Yak is a domesticated mammal that is thought to have originated in Tibet but, is found in areas of Asia that have elevations greater than 4,000 meters.

So, how do Yaks survive at such high altitudes? Over thousands of years and evolutions, Yaks have developed to increase their metabolism, improve foraging ability, enlarged lungs and hearts, and the lack of blood vessel constriction in the lungs due to low oxygen. All of these physiological and anatomical adaptations have made the yak a master of low nutrient and oxygen supply.

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The Himalayas are also some of the coldest places on Earth, with temperatures reaching -40 degrees Fahrenheit (-40 Celsius). To cope with these frigid temperatures the Yak has developed one of the warmest and densest coats in the world. On the outside of its fur is a layer of long hair that droops past its body. This is one of the main identifying characteristics of a Yak. Below that layer of fur is another even denser layer. This fur is not long, however. Instead, it is short and matted.

At such high altitudes and such low temperatures, the Yak does not find much nutrients. When it does, however, it feeds on grass, flowers, moss, and tubers. This diet and low nutrient availability may make you wonder if Yaks are really that large? The answer to that is yes. They can grow over 6 feet tall and weigh up to 2,200 pounds! Though these bovines are massive and scary they are actually extremely friendly to people. They can recognize faces and are often extremely friendly to people they know. However, if a Yak is aggressive it can use its horns as defense. Their horns are extremely tough and are often used to break through snow and ice.

Goats: Are They The Greatest?

The goat is a species of an animal closely related to sheep. They were originally domesticated from southwest Asia and easter Europe. Goats are notorious for being farm animals that provide milk and even meat. Goat is not a popular dish in the United States but, it is enjoyed around the world by millions. It is actually the most eaten meal in the world. On average Goat will live for 15-18 years and grow up 310 pounds in their largest forms.

Many people love to play with Goats and this is for a good reason. Most of the species are extremely friendly and they can even be taught their name and commands such as sit and come. The hardest thing to do on a Goat is to sneak up on them, however. Their eyes are outward-facing and large allowing them to see up to 340 degrees compared to a human’s vision of up to 210.

Chicken: Domesticated Best Friends

A chicken is a domesticated subspecies of the red junglefowl, a tropical bird that is almost identical to a chicken. What defines a chicken from other similar species is that they have two wattles and a comb. The two wattles are the two red appendages that hang below its chin and a comb is a red appendage on its head. Many people also get confused with what a male and female chicken is called. A male is called a Rooster or Cock and can be identified by pointed feathers, larger combs and wattles, and a male crows. The female chicken can be identified by rounded feathers and the inability to crow.

The main reason humans have domesticated chickens is that they are easy to control (they can’t fly off into the sky) and the products you gain from raising them are very effective. Chickens that are laying eggs will lay about one egg a day depending on the weather and many other environmental factors. They are also a good source of protein but, due to overbreeding to enhance desired sizes and shapes many chickens that are domesticated to be slaughtered cannot move easily. These factors that inhibit the movement of the chicken can reduce the production of eggs due to environmental stress.