The hippopotamus is a large, mostly plant-eating African mammal, one of
only two extant species in the family Hippopotamidae (the other being
the Pygmy Hippopotamus). It is the heaviest extant artiodactyl, despite
being significantly shorter than the Giraffe. The hippopotamus is
semi-aquatic, inhabiting rivers and lakes in sub-Saharan Africa in
groups of 5–30 hippos. The hippopotamus uses water to keep itself
hydrated and able to carry out its life functions. During the day they
remain cool by staying in the water or mud; reproduction and childbirth
both occur in water, where territorial bulls preside over a stretch of
river. They emerge at dusk to graze on grass. Despite their physical
resemblance to pigs and other terrestrial even-toed ungulates, their
closest living relatives are cetaceans (whales, porpoise, etc.). The
hippopotamus is recognizable for its barrel-shaped torso, enormous
mouth and teeth, hairless body, stubby legs and tremendous size. It is
the third-largest land mammal by weight, behind the White Rhinoceros
and the Elephant. The hippopotamus is one of the most aggressive
creatures in the world, and is often regarded as the most ferocious
animal in Africa. There are an estimated 125,000 to 150,000 hippos
remaining throughout Sub-Saharan Africa, of which Zambia and Tanzania
have the largest populations. They are still threatened by poaching for
their meat and ivory canine teeth, and by habitat loss.
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Today's selected anniversaries:
Republic of Ragusa founded.
War of the Austrian Succession: In the last time that a British
monarch, personally led his troops into battle, George II and his
forces defeated the French in Dettingen, Bavaria.
Great Irish Famine: An Irish newspaper ran a story about a new potato
blight.<!-Need to verify date
The crew of the Russian battleship Potemkin began a mutiny against
their oppressive officers.
The world's first large-scale nuclear power plant opened in Obninsk, in
the Soviet Union.<!-Tagged with <table class="metadata plainlinks ambox
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Hurricane Audrey struck Texas and Louisiana, leaving $1 billion (2005
USD) in damage and at least 419 fatalities.
The world's first electronic automated teller machine was installed in
Enfield Town, London by Barclays Bank.
Aerolinee Itavia Flight 870 suffered an in-flight explosion due to
unknown causes while en route from Bologna to Palermo, Italy, killing
all 81 people on board.
The International Court of Justice ruled against the United States in
Nicaragua v. United States. <!-Tagged for cleanup
Kuala Lumpur International Airport near Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia, today
the 7th busiest international airport in Asia, was officially
Wiktionary's word of the day:
1. (of a debt) Able to be substituted for something of equal value.
Wikiquote quote of the day:
We differ, blind and seeing, one from another, not in our senses, but
in the use we make of them, in the imagination and courage with which
we seek wisdom beyond the senses.