Thursday, September 06, 2012

word of the day: travois

The word of the day is travois:

"A travaille is an Indian contrivance, consisting of two poles fastened together at an acute angle, with crossbars between. The point of the angle rests upon the back of the dog or horse, the diverging ends of the poles drag along the ground, and the baggage is put on to the crossbars." (OED)

"Germonpré and her colleagues suggest that these early dogs might have been beasts of burden. They cite ethnographic examples of peoples like the Blackfeet and Hidatsa of the American West, who bred very large, strong dogs specifically for hauling travois or strapped-on packs."

 - Pat Shipman, "Do the Eyes Have It?  Dog domestication may have helped humans thrive while Neanderthals declined", The American Scientist May-June 2012

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