"This [ Fish and Wildlife Service's decision]...was based on the discovery that the great majority of Mexican ducks (Anas diazi) have been interbreeding with the common mallard (Anas platyrhynchos) and have thus protected themselves by producing the heartier duck (Anas platyrhynchos diazi).
"The service found that '...all presently known methods of karyotyping, allozymic variation analysis and protein analysis would not provide sufficiently reliable insight as to the taxonomic relationship between diazi and platyrhynchos,' and that 'most of these methods have great difficulty in separating congeneric, let alone conspecific, taxa.' We agree."
And so do we. We think.
HORSE OF A DIFFERENT COLOR
Unlike most human beings, horses are fairly finicky about what they will put in their mouths. A bag of oats, a jug of water—it's easy to see why Omar Khayy�m didn't write a lot of poems about horses. Give a horse a carrot, or even a wormy old apple, and he's happy, but just try to get one to split an order of truffles and scrod with you, and see what it gets you. Heartache.
Lee's Best is the name of Trainer-Driver Virgil White's prize pacer, a 6-year-old gelding that White is campaigning at Louisville Downs. The horse eats oats and carrots, but what really sends him is to park a good-sized wad of chewing tobacco between his cheek and gum.
White was grooming Lee's Best one day not long ago, and when he reached for his pouch of tobacco to load up himself, the horse began nuzzling the pack. "I just took a good fingerful out and handed it to him," says White, "and he just ate it up. Now when I get a pack out or have it anywhere near him, he expects a chew of tobacco. It makes no difference to him whether it's Red Man or Union Workman. That's the two I normally chew. Whatever I've got, well, he's happy with it."
Lee's Best politely swallows the tobacco, and though he may drool occasionally, he never spits. Nevertheless, visitors to the backstretch have shown great interest in the horse's penchant for tobacco. "It kind of fascinates them," says White. "I tell them to step back because the chewing isn't so bad, but when he starts spitting you have to watch out."
Since White acquired the horse in a $4,000 claiming race last March, he has been to the post 27 times, won eight races and finished in the money 16 more times. But White is careful never to give Lee's Best his chaw within 24 hours of a race, because if nicotine shows up in the post-race urine test, White can be fined or suspended, and could lose his racing license. Besides, it takes that long for the horse to get the stains off his teeth in case he needs to have his picture taken in the winner's circle.
HAIR TODAY, GONE TOMORROW
An amateur soccer player whose toupee slipped during a game sued its manufacturer in a Welsh court, claiming he had suffered pain and embarrassment. The judge was told that when Norman Bolland, a 32-year-old butcher from Overton, headed the ball, it pushed his "dream head of hair" over his eyes. On hearing the laughter of the other players, he ripped up the toupee on the spot. The toupee-makers agreed to an out-of-court settlement of �355, the only condition being that Bolland give them back the pieces.