Home » We don’t think enough about cow teeth – Liberation

We don’t think enough about cow teeth – Liberation

by archyde

Question number 43 from the album Do animals brush their teeth? And other not-so-stupid questions! concerns elephants: “Does the elephant have hard skin?” Well, let’s say he has sensitive leather. He is susceptible. Why ? Because he has memory. To the scientists who, thirty years later, came to visit the elephant to whom they had learned to play a kind of “Memory”, the pachyderm gave the best welcome. He remembered them, he was happy to see them. Likewise, an elephant remembers very well who the veterinarian is: he is the one who comes to give injections. He hates it. When we say that the elephant has sensitive leather, it’s true, it’s not just a way of speaking. In zoos, we take care of our skin, we send it large jets of water with maximum pressure.

Educate while distracting

The man who tells all this, Henning Wiesner, is a veterinarian who once ran the Munich Zoo. One morning, he receives a curious phone call. “A small, innocent voice asked me if you could burn your fingers catching fireflies.” I answered no, obviously ”, he says in the preface. The voice was that of Bavarian radio journalist Walli Müller. And this is how Wiesner, for a year, told stories about animals every morning on the radio in the form of questions you would never have dared to imagine.

“Does the German Shepherd understand English?” “Do geese get goosebumps?” “Does the snake have a tail?” I forgot to say, but we guessed it, that Wiesner has a lot of humor. It’s about educating while distracting. Each question has its answer on the left page, and the illustrations by Günter Mattei, old-style engravings, occupy the right page. The author and the illustrator are accomplices.

Ruminating is not good for the teeth

“Do cows have baby teeth?” Yes, like all breastfed mammals. “Cows also change teeth once in their lifetime, at least incisors and premolars.” They do not have baby teeth, however, in the upper jaw. This chapter aims to help us understand why cows live half as long as we do. Because they ruminate all the time, and it’s not good for the teeth: the grasses are stuffed with silicate, a mineral that attacks the enamel. There comes a day when the cow can no longer chew her grass. She is starving. The same with old lions.

Do animals brush their teeth? And other not-so-stupid questions! by Wiesner, Müller and Mattei. Translated from the German by Corinne Videaud and Renaud Guinaudeau. Youth Privat, 128 pp., € 17.90.

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