There’s no doubt that the average human consider animals to be intellectually and mentally inferior to humankind mainly because of our scientific, technological, intellectual, and medical advancements. However, there have been times where animals have been valuable to our own history. We humans may be at the top of the food chain, but we can’t deny that our very own existence is largely due to animals in some way form or another and nowhere is it more clear than in these 25 incredible animals that shaped human history.
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Ham The Chimp
Ham the Chimp was named after the Holloman Aerospace Medical Center and became a huge celebrity all over America. He ended up on the cover of Life magazine after his Project Mercury mission labeled MR-2, which launched him into orbit on January 31, 1961. Ham learned to pull levers to receive banana pellets and avoid electric shocks and thus he successfully became the first animal to actually interact with a space vessel rather than simply ride in it.
Alex: The Genius Parrot
Alex, the world-renowned African Grey Parrot, changed how the world viewed and understood animal intelligence before the mid-seventies. The remarkably smart parrot displayed the extraordinary cognitive and communication abilities of his kind and became the hot topic of scientific discussion and dispute for a long time for his ability to count each object individually in a group, identify colors, things, and actions, and even solve plain math problems.
Sergeant Reckless: The Hero Horse of the Korean War
Reckless was a small, humble mare that served in the Korean War, for which she was twice promoted to staff sergeant. She was trained to transfer ammo, and during a single battle she made fifty-one solo trips under enemy fire. Additionally, she saved the lives of numerous wounded soldiers by evacuating them, a fact that earned her many medals including the Good Conduct Medal, the National Defense Service Medal, and the Korean Service Medal, among other honors.
Checkers: The Dog That Inspired A Historic Presidential Speech
On September 23, 1952, Senator Richard Nixon gave one of the most famous speeches in modern American history. Nixon, Dwight D. Eisenhower’s vice presidential running mate, was accused at the time of accepting illegal gifts. He denied the allegations with a passion and during his speech referred to a cocker spaniel named Checkers that his family had given him. Arguably due to his speech, Nixon remained on the Republican ticket as Eisenhower’s running mate, and they won the election only a few weeks after (that speech). Furthermore, September 23 was designated National Dogs in Politics Day, also known as Checkers Day.
Bucephalus: The Most Dominant Horse in History
According to legend, Bucephalus was a wild horse than no man could get close to. A young Alexander the Great became the first and only man to tame the wild horse not by force as so many before had tried and failed, but by turning the horse’s head toward the sun, understanding that Bucephalus was simply afraid of his own shadow. After that no one but Alexander could mount the horse and together they would conquer vast territories and spread Greek culture and civilization all over the then-known world.