07 Oct 🐏 Our mystery animal is the sheep!
Our mystery animal is the sheep! The scientific name of this animal is Ovis aries.
Today, there are at least one billion sheep on the planet! Many of these sheep are farmed for their fleece meat in New Zealand, Australia, parts of North and South America and the United Kingdom. Domestic sheep are considerably smaller than their wild counterparts, and often lack large horns that can cause serious injury in battle.
As herbivores, sheep have a complex digestive system that is made up of four separate chambers. This allows the animal to break down the strong cellulose fibres found in stems, leaves and seed hulls into simple carbohydrates that they use for energy. To completely digest their food, sheep will regurgitate their food into their mouths, rechew and swallow. This regurgitated food is called cud.
You might have heard of Dolly the sheep, who played a very important role in the world of science. Dolly was the first mammal to be cloned from an adult cell, proving that specialised cells (cells with specific roles) could be used to create an exact copy of the animal they came from. This knowledge changed what scientists thought was possible and opened up many possibilities in biology and medicine, including the development of personalised stem cells known as iPS cells.