Bred as work animals for at least 3,000 years because of their ability to withstand harsh conditions, mules are the offspring of a male donkey and a female horse. The less common cross of a female donkey and a male horse is called a hinny. Hinnies are more horselike in appearance than mules, but are often considered inferior. Like mules, they are sterile, since their uneven number of chromosomes results in an incomplete reproductive system. Why are hinnies rarer than mules?
Back in the day
By his early 30s, Columbus had become a master mariner in the Portuguese merchant service. Convinced that he could reach land by sailing west, he requested ships to attempt such a voyage from both John II of Portugal and Ferdinand and Isabella of Spain but was repeatedly rebuffed. Finally, after eight years of supplication by Columbus, the Spanish monarchs decided to risk the enterprise. He sailed from Spain with three small ships and, after sailing for more than two months, reached what island?
Born on a day like today
Paxton was an English architect noted for his use of glass and iron in a manner that anticipated modern methods. He began his career as a landscape gardener and built two innovative greenhouses for the duke of Devonshire. These "glass houses" later served as a model for the Crystal Palace, made of iron and glass, which Paxton designed and built for the Great Exhibition of 1851. He was knighted for the success of his design. One of Paxton's greenhouses was designed solely to house what plant?