From Laika to Balto, the story of the dogs that made history in science

One last lick of water and the cabin closed. Outside, a cylindrical explosion lit up the cosmos as the tiny cosmonaut ascended beyond the stratosphere. it was called Laika and was the first living being to orbit the Earth and one of the most famous dogs in the world.

In the history of science, man’s best friend has been a pillar in the advancement of humanity. The reasons why they gained notoriety are diverse. Some were unsung heroes whose exploits became known and spread. Others saved lives or set an example of gratitude and courage. They all showed unconditional loyalty and great love for human beings. And from the UNQ science news agencyWe do this review.

Laika’s space mission

Laika was the first living being sent into space, in 1957, aboard Sputnik 2, when the Soviets launched it into the space capsule. She went from being a street dog to becoming an astronaut dog after two months of training. He didn’t survive, but his sacrifice served to prove that the Soviets could send living beings into outer space. So, in 1960, Sputnik-5 was launched with a crew made up of rabbits, mice, rats and Belka and Strelka, two dogs, also strays, This one They returned safe and sound, showed no damage from the trip and even had descendants. The fact that they came back healthy served to guarantee the trip of Russian astronaut Yuri Gagarin.

Pavlov’s dogs and conditioned reflexes

Ivan Pavlov was a Russian scientist, who received the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine in the early 20th century. Among his experiments, he carried out one with dogs as protagonists: it consisted of associating the physiological response of salivation, a consequence of the presentation of a specific stimulus (food), to the appearance of a neutral stimulus (the sound of a bell).

For that, exposed several stray dogs to a bowl of food, which produced an involuntary physiological response to salivate. Pavlov observed that these animals salivated at the sight of food, a reaction produced by a direct stimulus. Later, he would come to the conclusion that the dogs also salivated simply at the sight of the attendant who normally brought them their food.

It was then proposed to condition the natural salivation reflex by introducing a neutral stimulus. Pavlov played a metronome before feeding the dogs, and after several repetitions, the dogs salivated by association, simply by listening to the metronome, without the need to offer them food. He thus demonstrated the existence of conditioned reflexes. The researcher performed other experiments behavioral psychology and physiology with his dogs, which won him the Nobel Prize in Medicine in 1904.

Hello Trouve!

The history of the telephone begins with the terrier breed dog belongs to Alexander Graham Bell. Bell’s dog answered by the name of find and became famous because it helped the scientist to develop his first “talking machine” (the precursor of the telephone).

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Bell trained his dog to clench his jaw every time he barked so that the sounds he made would be mistaken for a human voice. With a lot of work, he managed to get the dog to bark something like the words “How are you, Grandma?” (How are you, grandma?). The experiment worked.

Marjorie, diabetes and insulin

medical students Frederick Banting and Charles Best discovered insulin in 1921. On August 6 of that year, it was a dog named Marjorie the world’s first diabetic animal given pancreas extract or insulin in its most primitive state, with encouraging results: his blood glucose level dropped and he looked healthier and stronger.

A few weeks later, Marjorie had to be euthanized due to complications related to poorly known insulin filtration. On January 11, 1922, 14-year-old Leonard Thompson, who has been diabetic since the age of 12, received an injection of pancreas extract, a purified version to remove toxic contaminants, and a surprising improvement was achieved.

Togo and Balto, courageous and supportive

Thanks to a long journey, Togo and Balto Siberian Dogs managed to save the lives of many people. In 1925, a diphtheria epidemic hit the city of Nome, Alaska, putting the lives of its inhabitants at risk. To prevent this from happening to adults, several groups of 20 dogs had to travel, guided by their owners, through different areas of Alaska to pass. the only cure available and take it back to the village. Despite being weak, Togo managed to make it all the way.

Balto was present in the same event as Togo, but only ran the last quarter of the course. Still, he is one of the most famous dogs in science and is often remembered for his achievement, as he made it to the last group with drugs.

Tasha the bitch and the DNA revolution

early 21st century The complete genome of Tasha, a boxer dog, has been sequenced. which supposed the first complete genome of the species. The researchers explained that the dog has 20,000 genes, a little less than the man. The team deciphered about 2.4 billion nucleotides of DNA in Tasha’s 39 chromosomes. In this sense, compared to the human genome and other organisms, the dog It is a great help to identify genetic factors for men’s health.

However, these and many other dogs left a mark on humanity that, after many years, still remains unchanged.

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