Dolly the sheep proved cloning was possible
On July 5, 1996, this fuzzy little bundle of joy emerged from the belly of one of her three mothers, the first mammal cloned from an adult cell. Dolly’s birth proved that a technique called somatic cell nuclear transfer, a technique in which the cell nucleus from an adult cell is transferred into an unfertilized egg, blasted with electricity, then implanted into a surrogate, could work. Dolly died of a lung disease at age six, but the cloning technique used to produce her was later employed on other larger mammals, including pigs, deer, horses, and bulls. More recently, these are some of the most promising scientific discoveries in the last year.
Cher Ami the pigeon saved hundreds of American troops
During World War I, this homing pigeon lived up to her name and was a “dear friend” to the American troops. Cher Ami delivered 12 messages during her service to the U.S. Army Signal Corps in France, but none was more important than the missive she delivered in early October 1918. On that day, Major Charles White Whittlesey and more than 500 men were trapped behind enemy lines without food or ammunition. Afraid that his battalion would be killed by friendly fire, Whittlesey attempted to send messages to his compatriots via pigeon. The first two birds were shot down, but Cher Ami successfully navigated a barrage of fire to deliver this message: “We are along the road parallel to 276.4. Our own artillery is dropping a barrage directly on us. For heaven’s sake, stop it.” The shelling stopped and the troops were saved. Cher Ami received the Croix de Guerre medal for bravery. Upon her death in 1919, her body was preserved and placed on display at the Smithsonian Institute. Learn about some more extraordinary animal heroes.