Mar 16, 2015
In 1950 newspapers around the world reported that a 10-month-old kitten had climbed the Matterhorn, one of the highest peaks in Europe. In this week's episode of the Futility Closet podcast we'll wonder whether even a very determined kitty could accomplish such a feat.
We'll also marvel at a striking demonstration of dolphin intelligence and puzzle over a perplexed mechanic.
My own original post about Matt, the kitten who climbed the Matterhorn, appeared on Dec. 17, 2011. Reader Stephen Wilson directed me to this page, which rehearses the original London Times story (from Sept. 7, 1950) and adds a confirming account from a Times reader that appeared on Sept. 10, 1975.
"A Cat Climbs the Matterhorn," Miami News, Oct. 19, 1950 (reprinting an editorial, I think, from the San Francisco Chronicle).
"Cat-Climbing on the Matterhorn," Sydney Morning Herald, Sept. 9, 1950.
"Mere Kitten Conquers Matterhorn," Spokane Daily Chronicle, Sept. 7, 1950.
Here's a photo of the Solvay hut at 12,556 feet, where the kitten reportedly spent the first night of its three-day climb:
Sources for our feature on porpoise trainer Karen Pryor:
Karen Pryor, Lads Before the Wind, 1975.
Thomas White, In Defense of Dolphins: The New Moral Frontier, 2008.
This week's lateral thinking puzzle was submitted by listener David White.
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Many thanks to Doug Ross for the music in this episode.