Top: Fossil Megaloceros giganteus with grown man for comparison.
Bottom: Approximation of Megaloceros giganteus in continental European environment.
The Irish Elk (Megaloceros giganteus), which wasn’t really an elk at all, wasn’t actually “Irish”, either. Though its fossils have been extensively preserved in the Irish peat bogs, and were first found in Ireland, this cervid lived throughout Eurasia, all the way east to Lake Baikal.
Their proposed extinction during the last major ice age has been disputed recently, with the dating of more recent bone caches. The current date that’s generally accepted for their (effective) extinction is around 7600 years ago.
Extinct Monsters. A Popular Account of Some of the Larger Forms of Ancient Animal Life. Rev. H. N. Hutchinson, 1896.
Essay on the Theory of the Earth. Baron Georges Cuvier, 1827.
“Mary Mallon (September 23, 1869 – November 11, 1938), also known as Typhoid Mary, was the first person in the United States identified as an asymptomatic carrier of the pathogen associated with typhoid fever. She was presumed to have infected some 53 people, three of whom died, over the course of her career as a cook. She was forcibly isolated twice by public health authorities and died after nearly three decades altogether in isolation.
“Mary Mallon was born in 1869 in Cookstown, County Tyrone, Ireland (now Northern Ireland). She emigrated to the United States in 1884. From 1900 to 1907 she worked as a cook in the New York City area.
In 1900, she had been working in a house in Mamaroneck, New York, for under two weeks when the residents developed typhoid fever. She moved toManhattan in 1901, and members of the family for whom she worked developed fevers and diarrhea and the laundress died. She then went to work for a lawyer until seven of the eight household members developed typhoid; Mary spent months helping to care for the people she made sick, but her care further spread the disease through the household. In 1906, she took a position in Oyster Bay, Long Island. Within two weeks, ten of eleven family members were hospitalized with typhoid. She changed employment again, and similar occurrences happened in three more households.
When typhoid researcher George Soper approached Mallon about her possible role spreading typhoid, she adamantly rejected his request for urine and stool samples….Mallon’s denials that she was a carrier were based in part on the diagnosis of a reputable chemist who had found her to not harbor the bacteria. Moreover, when Soper first told her she was a carrier, the concept of a healthy carrier of a pathogen was not commonly known. Further, class prejudice and prejudice towards the Irish were strong in the period, as was the belief that slum-dwelling immigrants were a major cause of epidemics.
…The New York City health inspector determined her to be a carrier. Under sections 1169 and 1170 of the Greater New York Charter, Mallon was held in isolation for three years at a clinic located on North Brother Island.
Individuals can develop typhoid fever after ingesting food or water contaminated during handling by a human carrier. The human carrier is usually a healthy person who has survived a previous episode of typhoid fever yet who continues to shed the associated bacteria, Salmonella typhi, in feces and urine…
Eventually, the New York State Commissioner of Health, Eugene H. Porter, M.D., decided that disease carriers would no longer be held in isolation. Mallon could be freed if she agreed to abandon working as a cook and to take reasonable steps to prevent transmitting typhoid to others… She was released from quarantine and returned to the mainland.
After being given a job as a laundress, which paid lower wages, however, Mallon adopted the pseudonym Mary Brown, returned to her previous occupation as a cook, and in 1915 was believed to have infected 25 people, resulting in one death, while working as a cook at New York’s Sloane Hospital for Women.Public-health authorities again found and arrested Mallon, returned to quarantine on the island on March 27, 1915. Mallon was confined there for the remainder of her life. She became something of a minor celebrity, and was interviewed by journalists, who were forbidden to accept even a glass of water from her. Later, she was allowed to work as a technician in the island’s laboratory.
Mallon spent the rest of her life in quarantine. Six years before her death, she was paralyzed by a stroke. On November 11, 1938, aged 69, she died of pneumonia. An autopsy found evidence of live typhoid bacteria in her gallbladder. It is possible that she was born with the infection, as her mother had typhoid fever during her pregnancy.”
While we’re at it…
If you want a “hero” from the Great Race of Mercy that wasn’t the native teams, here’s Togo and his handler, Leonhard Seppala.
“Balto” was a farce. Usurping amateur who did little work compared to Togo.
And to boot, the statue of Balto in Central Park is modeled after the real Balto, but every color and medal he wears was awarded to Togo. Officials and historians honored and knew Togo to be the real pack leader, who really deserved the praise. Roald Amundsen (of South Pole Expedition fame) even personally gave Togo a gold medal at Madison Square Gardens.
But that’s not what people see these days. Togo’s silent honor was easily overshadowed by a fame-hungry musher who couldn’t wait to be in photoshoot after tour stop after film after headlines. Balto’s owner/musher, Gunnar Kaasen, knew how to exploit this opportunity to its fullest. After the rescue run, he and his team toured around the country with Balto at the forefront, and told heroic tales of “Balto’s” triumphs, the majority of which were what Togo led his team through, and which Kaasen had overheard Seppala speak about.
Of course, none of that was Balto’s fault, and I feel sorry for the dog. Not only was he an amateur who wasn’t ready to lead a team in tough conditions up north, he was actually sold to a circus after Kaasen couldn’t milk anything else out of his appearances. He was malnourished and treated horribly there, before the children of Cleveland, OH found out, and had a fundraiser to bring Balto and his team to the local Zoo to live out their retirement.