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Hyena

Hyenas or hyaenas are feliform carnivoran mammals of the family Hyaenidae. With only four extant species, it is the fifth-smallest biological family in the Carnivora, one of the smallest in the class Mammalia. Despite their low diversity, hyenas are vital components of most African ecosystems. Although phylogenetically they are closer to felines and viverrids, belong to the feliform category, hyenas are behaviourally and morphologically similar to canines in several elements of convergent evolution. Both eat food and may store it, their calloused feet with large, nonretractable claws are adapted for running and making sharp turns. However, the hyenas' grooming, scent marking, defecating habits and parental behaviour are consistent with the behaviour of other feliforms. Spotted hyenas may kill as many as 95% of the animals they eat, while striped hyenas are scavengers. Hyenas are known to drive off larger predators, like lions, from their kills, despite having a reputation in popular culture for being cowardly.

Hyenas are nocturnal animals, but sometimes venture from their lairs in the early-morning hours. With the exception of the social spotted hyena, hyenas are not gregarious animals, though they may live in family groups and congregate at kills. Hyenas first arose in Eurasia during the Miocene period from viverrid-like ancestors, diversified into two distinct types: built dog-like hyenas and robust bone-crushing hyenas. Although the dog-like hyenas thrived 15 million years ago, they became extinct after a change in climate along with the arrival of canids into Eurasia. Of the dog-like hyena lineage, only the insectivorous aardwolf survived, while the bone-crushing hyenas became the undisputed top scavengers of Eurasia and Africa. Hyenas feature prominently in the mythology of human cultures that live alongside them. Hyenas are viewed as frightening and worthy of contempt. In some cultures, hyenas are thought to influence people's spirits, rob graves, steal livestock and children. Other cultures associate them with witchcraft, using their body parts in traditional African medicine.

Hyenas originated in the jungles of Miocene Eurasia 22 million years ago, when most early feliform species were still arboreal. The first ancestral hyenas were similar to the modern banded palm civet; the lineage of Plioviverrops prospered, gave rise to descendants with longer legs and more pointed jaws, a direction similar to that taken by canids in North America. The descendants of Plioviverrops reached their peak 15 million years ago, with more than 30 species having been identified. Unlike most modern hyena species, which are specialised bone-crushers, these dog-like hyenas were nimble-bodied, wolfish animals; the dog-like hyenas were numerous. The decline of the dog-like hyenas began 5–7 million years ago during a period of climate change, exacerbated when canids crossed the Bering land bridge to Eurasia. One species, Chasmaporthetes ossifragus, managed to cross the land bridge into North America, being the only hyena to do so. Chasmopothertes managed to survive for some time in North America by deviating from the cursorial and bone-crushing niches monopolised by canids, developing into a cheetah-like sprinter.

Most of the dog-like hyenas had died off by 1.5 million years ago. By 10–14 million years ago, the hyena family had split into two distinct groups: dog-like hyenas and bone-crushing hyenas; the arrival of the ancestral bone-crushing hyenas coincided with the decline of the built family Percrocutidae. The bone-crushing hyenas survived the changes in climate and the arrival of canids, which wiped out the dog-like hyenas, though they never crossed into North America, as their niche there had been taken by the dog subfamily Borophaginae. By 5 million years ago, the bone-crushing hyenas had become the dominant scavengers of Eurasia feeding on large herbivore carcasses felled by sabre-toothed cats. One genus, was a 200 kg mega-scavenger that could splinter the bones of elephants. With the decline of large herbivores by the late ice age, Pachycrocuta was replaced by the smaller Crocuta; the four extant species are the striped hyena, the brown hyena, the spotted hyena, the aardwolf. The aardwolf can trace its lineage directly back to Plioviverrops 15 million years ago, is the only survivor of the dog-like hyena lineage.

Its success is attributed to its insectivorous diet, for which it faced no competition from canids crossing from North America. Its unrivaled ability to digest the terpene excretions from soldier termites is a modification of the strong digestive system its ancestors used to consume fetid carrion; the striped hyena may have evolved from H. namaquensis of Pliocene Africa. Striped hyena fossils are common with records going back as far as the Villafranchian; as fossil striped hyenas are absent from the Mediterranean region, it is that the species is a late invader to Eurasia

John Warren, 3rd Baron de Tabley

John Byrne Leicester Warren, 3rd Baron de Tabley was an English poet, botanist and an authority on bookplates. He was eldest son of George Fleming Leicester, Lord de Tabley, by his wife Catherina Barbara, second daughter of Jerome, Count de Salis-Soglio; the young Warren, as he was, was educated at Eton from 1847 to 1851, in the Rev. Edward Coleridge's house, at Christ Church, where he took his degree in 1856 with second class honours in classics and modern history. In the autumn of 1858 he went to Turkey as unpaid attaché to Lord Stratford de Redcliffe. In 1860 he was called to the bar from Lincoln's Inn, he was commissioned as a part-time Lieutenant into the Cheshire Yeomanry and unsuccessfully contested Mid-Cheshire in 1868 as a Liberal. After his mother died and his father's re-marriage in 1871 Warren removed to London, where he became a close friend of Tennyson. Tennyson once said of him:'He is Faunus, he is a woodland creature'. From 1877 until his succession to the barony and estates in 1887, Warren was lost to his friends, assuming the life of a recluse.

It was not until 1892, five years after becoming Lord de Tabley, that he returned to London life and enjoyed a renaissance of reputation and friendship. During the years of his life, Tabley made many new friends, besides reopening old associations, he seemed to be gathering around him a small literary company when his health broke, he died at Ryde on the Isle of Wight in his sixty-first year, he is buried at Lower Peover Church in Cheshire. Although his reputation will live exclusively as that of a poet, Tabley was a man of many studious tastes, he was at one time an authority on numismatics, he wrote two novels, published A Guide to the Study of Book Plates, the fruit of his careful researches in botany was printed posthumously in his elaborate Flora of Cheshire. Poetry, was his first and last passion, to that he devoted the best energies of his life. Lord de Tabley's first impulse towards poetry came from his friend George Fortescue, with whom he shared a close companionship during his Oxford days, whom he lost, as Tennyson lost Hallam, within a few years of their taking their degrees.

Fortescue was killed by falling from the mast of Lord Drogheda's yacht in November 1859, this gloomy event plunged Tabley into a deep depression. Between 1859 and 1862 he issued four little volumes of pseudonymous verse, in the production of which he had been stimulated by the sympathy of Fortescue. Once more he assumed a pseudonym: his Praeterita bearing the name of William Lancaster. In the next year he published Monodramas, followed in 1865 by Studies in Verse; these volumes all displayed much natural beauty. Philoctetes bore the initials M. A. which, to the author's dismay, were interpreted as meaning Matthew Arnold. He at once disclosed his identity, received the congratulations of his friends, among whom were Tennyson and Gladstone. In 1867 he published Orestes, in 1873 Searching the Net; these last two bore John Leicester Warren. He was somewhat disappointed by their lukewarm reception, when in 1876 The Soldier of Fortune, a drama on which he had bestowed much careful labor, proved a complete failure, he retired altogether from the literary arena.

It was not until 1893, that he was persuaded to return, the immediate success in that year of his Poems and Lyrical, encouraged him to publish a second series in 1895, the year of his death. The genuine interest with which these volumes were welcomed did much to lighten the last years of a somewhat sombre and solitary life, his posthumous poems were collected in 1902. The characteristics of Tabley's poetry are pre-eminently magnificence of style, derived from a close study of Milton, dignity and colour, his passion for detail was both a strength and a weakness: it lent a loving fidelity to his description of natural objects, but it sometimes involved him in a loss of simple effect from over-elaboration of treatment. He was always a student of the classic poets, drew much of his inspiration directly from them, his ambition was always for the heights, a region ice-bound at periods, but always a country of clear atmosphere and bright, vivid outlines. See an excellent sketch by Edmund Gosse in his Critical Kit-Kats.

An extract of what Gosse wrote:'His character was like an opal, where all the colours lie purdue, drowned in a milky mystery, so arranged that to a couple of observers bending over it, the prevalent hue shall in one case seem a pale green, in the other a fiery crimson'. A Pastoral Venetian School Arcadian spaces of great grass arise. In a fair meadow set with tulip-heads. A water-mill rolls little crested fallsOf olive torrent, broken in grey threads. A grave-yard crowds black crosses in square walls, and up behind in a still orchard close The apples ripen, crushing down the trees,In millions, russet-green and amber-rose, Fit for the gardens of the Hesperides. Such colour as the morning brings the skies, Such mirage as our dreams in childhood gave,Infinite cadence of ethereal dyes, The radiance of a rainbow-burnished wave. Quaint pastoral

Cedric Gibbons

Austin Cedric Gibbons was an Irish-American art director and production designer for the film industry. He made a significant contribution to motion picture theater architecture from the 1930s to 1950s. Gibbons designed the Oscar statuette in 1928, but tasked the sculpting to George Stanley, a Los Angeles artist, he was nominated 39 times for the Academy Award for Best Production Design and won the Oscar 11 times, both of which are records. Cedric Gibbons was born in New York City in 1890 or 1893 to architect Austin P. Gibbons and Veronica Fitzpatrick Simmons; the couple raised him in the Brooklyn borough moving to New York City after the birth of their third child. Cedric studied at the Art Students League of New York in 1911, he began working in his father's office as a junior draftsman in the art department at Edison Studios under Hugo Ballin in New Jersey in 1915. He served in the US Navy during World War I, he joined Goldwyn Studios, began a long career with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1924, when the studio was founded.

In 1925, when he was first working in the art department at MGM, he was in competition with another talent, Romain De Tirtoff, for a more substantial position, while working with Joseph Wright, Merrill Pye and Richard Day on some 20 films. Tirtoff is better known as Erte; when studio executive Irving Thalberg summoned Gibbons to work on Ben Hur, he used knowledge of the up-and-coming art moderne to advance in the MGM art department. Gibbons was one of the original 36 founding members of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and designed the Academy Awards statuette in 1928. A trophy for which he himself would be nominated 39 times, winning 11; the last time for Best Art Direction for Somebody Up There Likes Me. He retired from MGM as art director and the head of the art department on April 26, 1956 due to ill health with over 1,500 films credited to him. So, his actual hands-on art direction is considerable and his contributions lasting. In 1930, Gibbons married actress Dolores del Río and co-designed their house with Douglas Honnold in Santa Monica, an intricate Art Deco residence influenced by Rudolf Schindler.

They divorced in 1941. Gibbons niece Veronica "Rocky" Balfe was Gary Cooper's wife and an actress known as Sandra Shaw. Gibbons' second cousin Frederick "Royal" Gibbons—a musician, orchestra conductor, entertainer who worked with him at MGM—was the father of Billy Gibbons of the rock band ZZ Top. On July 26, 1960, after a long illness, Gibbons died in Los Angeles at age 70, was buried under a modest marker, at the Calvary Cemetery, East Los Angeles. Dorothy Kilgallen and gossip columnist friend of his second wife, reported his age as 65 at the time of his death. Gibbons' set designs those in such films as Born to Dance and Rosalie inspired motion picture theater architecture in the late 1930s through 1950s; the style is found in the theaters that were managed by the Skouras brothers, whose designer Carl G. Moeller used the sweeping scroll-like details in his creations. Among the more classic examples are the Loma Theater in San Diego, The Crest theaters in Long Beach and Fresno, the Culver Theater in Culver City, all of which are in California and some extant.

The style is sometimes referred to as Art Moderne. The iconic Oscar statuettes that Gibbons designed, which were first awarded in 1929, are still being presented to winners at Academy Awards ceremonies each year. In February 2005 Gibbons was inducted into the Art Directors Hall of Fame. Art Directors Guild Hall of Fame "Cedric Gibbons Architect of Style", LA Modernism catalog, May 2006, pp. 16–17 by Jeffrey Head Cedric Gibbons on IMDb