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The aardvark is found throughout much of Africa, from the southern part of Egypt to the Cape of Good Hope. A primarily nocturnal animal, it lives in burrows and feeds on ants and termites, occasionally eating other insects, the fat mouse, and a species of wild ground cucumber.

The aardvark is up to 2.3 m (7.5 ft) long, including the fleshy, tapering tail, which it uses to throw earth backward when it burrows. It has an arched back, a tubular snout, and large, upright ears. The aardvark uses its specialized, chisel-shaped claws to break open the hard clay of termite nests; then it uses its sticky tongue to capture the insects in the nest. Unlike the animals known as anteaters, which are toothless, the aardvark has twenty cylindrical, rootless teeth that grow continually throughout its lifetime.

The female gives birth to one or occasionally two offspring which can dig their ...

Article

The aardwolf, whose name in Afrikaans means “earth wolf,” stands 45 to 50 cm (18 to 20 in) high at the shoulder, has a body length of 50 to 80 cm (27 to 31 in) long, and is covered with long, coarse hair and soft underfur. It is light buff in color, with black bands. At night it leaves its burrow, traveling singly or in a group, to forage for insects, especially termites. When attacked, the aardwolf erects its mane, achieving a formidable appearance, and ejects a foul-smelling fluid from its anal glands. Having weak jaws and small teeth, however, it must use its sharp canines to fight off such enemies as the dog. Toward December the female aardwolf finds a burrow and bears a litter of one to five young.

The aardwolf is classified as Proteles cristatus It is usually placed in the hyena family Hyaenidae Some experts ...

Article

Dalyce Newby

surgeon, was born in Toronto, Upper Canada (now Ontario), the son of Wilson Ruffin Abbott, a businessman and properties investor, and Mary Ellen Toyer. The Abbotts had arrived in Toronto around 1835, coming from Mobile, Alabama, via New Orleans and New York. Wilson Abbott became one of the wealthiest African Canadians in Toronto. Anderson received his primary education in Canadian public and private schools. Wilson Abbott moved his family to the Elgin Settlement in 1850, providing his children with a classical education at the famed Buxton Mission School. Anderson Abbott, a member of the school's first graduating class, continued his studies at-the Toronto Academy, where he was one of only three African Americans. From 1856 to 1858 he attended the preparatory department at Oberlin College, afterward returning to Toronto to begin his medical training.

At age twenty three Abbott graduated from the Toronto School of ...

Article

Mohamed Adhikari

South African medical doctor and politician, the most significant political leader of the South African Coloured community during the first half of the twentieth century, was born in Wellington near Cape Town on 12 December 1872. He was the eldest son of nine children born to Abdul Rachman, a greengrocer, and his wife Kadija Dollie. Descended from grandparents who were manumitted slaves, his graduation as a medical doctor from the University of Glasgow in 1893 was a signal achievement. After two years of postgraduate study in London, he returned to Cape Town in 1895.

Abdurahman entered public life in 1904 when he became the first black person to be elected to the Cape Town City Council. Except for 1913–1915 he represented Wards 6 and 7 District 6 for the rest of his life Abdurahman exerted substantial influence on local government because of the exceptional support he enjoyed ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

was born on 5 March 1920 in Algeria. Both his parents were Jewish and were notable figures in their own right. Aboulker’s father, Félix, was a surgeon and the leader of the centrist Radical Party in Algiers. Berthe Bénichou-Aboulker was one of the first Algerian women to publish a novel and the author of numerous poems. Because after 1879 Algerian Jews became French citizens by an act of the French parliament, Aboulker had the opportunity to receive an advanced education, unlike other Algerians. After completing his primary and secondary education, Aboulker planned to continue in the family profession of medicine, but the outbreak of World War II in Europe in 1939 forced him to postpone his education. He enlisted in a French regiment of spahis at Miliana in Ain Delfa province in northwest Algeria. However, the French government surrendered to the Germans in 1940.

The establishment of a pro ...

Article

Sherri J. Norris

chemical engineer and environmental engineering entrepreneur, was born in Memphis, Tennessee, the second of four daughters of Ernest Buford Abron and Bernice Wise Abron, both educators. Abron was educated in Memphis public schools and was a member of the National Honor Society. Abron divorced and had three sons, Frederick, Ernest, and David; she is occasionally credited as Lilia Ann Abron-Robinson.

Abron stayed close to home when she attended LeMoyne College, a historically black college in Memphis, Tennessee. She considered medical school, but she was persuaded by her advisor, Dr. Beuler, to pursue a career in engineering instead. Her decision was a risky one. She did not know of any African Americans with engineering degrees who were actually working as engineers; instead, she once said in an interview, they were often working in post offices. In 1966 Abron received her BS in Chemistry from ...

Primary Source

This biography appears in African American Women Chemists (Oxford University Press, 2011), by Dr. Jeannette Brown.

Article

Ness Creighton

Egyptian Muslim mathematician, also known as al-Hasib al-Misri, the Egyptian Calculator (or Reckoner). His full name was Abu Kamil Shujaʿ ibn Aslam ibn Muhammad ibn Shuja. Very few biographical details are known concerning Abu Kamil, but his productive peak appears to have been at the end of the ninth century. The year of his birth and the year of his death are known with a decent degree of certainty as he is known to have died before al-Imrani (who died in 955) but to have lived well beyond al-Khwarizmi (who died in 850). A direct successor in the development of algebra to al-Khwarizmi, his texts on algebraic theory helped to form the groundwork for later mathematicians, including al-Karaji. Fibonacci would later adopt his mathematical techniques.

Abu Kamil worked to perfect many of al Khwarizmi s algebraic methods including work with the multiplication and division of algebraic objects and the addition ...

Article

Acacia  

Most of the 1,200 species of the genus acacia are native to tropical Africa or Australia. The normal type of leaf is bipinnate (featherlike), but it is often modified. The acacia is of great and varied economic importance, yielding edible seeds and valuable timber and gum.

Acacias belong to the ...

Article

Mandisa Mbali

antiapartheid, gay rights, AIDS, and human rights activist, was born in Johannesburg in South Africa. Adurrazack (“Zackie”) Achmat was of Cape Malay heritage. His father, Suleiman Achmat, was a member of the South African Communist Party and his mother, Mymoena, was a trade union shop steward. Achmat’s entry into politics began at the age of 14 with his participation in the 1976 student uprising. He was detained in 1977 for burning down his high school in Salt River to demonstrate his support for the uprising. Achmat obtained a bachelor of arts honors degree in English literature from the University of the Western Cape in 1992.

He spent much of the period between 1976 and 1980 in detention for his opposition to the apartheid system. It was also in this period that Achmat read the then-banned works of Karl Marx and Leon Trotsky and the progressive academic journal Work in ...

Article

Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) is a fatal disease caused by the slow-acting human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). The virus multiplies in the body until it causes immune system damage, leading to diseases of the AIDS syndrome. HIV emerged in Africa in the 1960s and traveled to the United States and Europe the following decade. In the 1980s it spread silently across the globe until it became pandemic, or widespread. Some areas of the world were already significantly affected by AIDS, while in others the epidemic was just beginning. The virus is transmitted mainly via sexual fluids, but also by blood, from mother to child in the womb, and during delivery or breast-feeding. AIDS first was identified in the United States and France in 1981, principally among homosexual men. Then in 1982 and 1983 heterosexual Africans also were diagnosed Today AIDS poses a threat to the survival of millions especially ...

Article

The existence of HIV was first identified among populations throughout Latin America and the Caribbean, as it was in North America and sub-Saharan Africa, in the early 1980s. HIV is a particularly virulent and incurable infection that is transmitted through the exchange of bodily fluids (such as blood or semen) and attacks the immune system, leaving the infected person susceptible to opportunistic infections and certain cancers, often resulting in acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS) and death. Recent trends in Latin America and the Caribbean show a disproportionate number of new cases of HIV infection emerging among the poor and working classes and among populations of African descent.

After a few cases of the disease were diagnosed among Haitian immigrants in the United States, considerable attention was focused on the AIDS epidemic in Haiti This focus led to the misconception among many U S scientists and in the media that Haitian ...

Article

Acquired Immunodeficiency Syndrome (AIDS) is caused by the human immunodeficiency virus (HIV), which slowly attacks an infected person's immune system. Fatalities are rarely caused by AIDS alone, but rather by opportunistic infections that take advantage of the weakened immune system. HIV is transmitted through direct exchange of body fluids—such as blood or blood products, semen, and vaginal secretions—mainly during sexual intercourse or through the sharing of needles by intravenous drug users. AIDS is considered the last stage of HIV infection.

In America, AIDS was initially identified with gay white men. In response to this reality the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) directed their early response to gay communities in large urban areas. According to the CDC's internal research, however, minorities were increasingly becoming infected with HIV. By 1985 almost 40 percent of all AIDS cases were among minorities Amazingly over the next few years additional CDC research indicated ...

Article

Erin Royston Battat

the first African American to publish an autobiography about conversion to Catholicism, was born in Santa Barbara, California, the only child of Lula Josephine Holden Adams, a painter, and Daniel Henderson Adams, a hotel headwaiter. Daniel and Lula Adams provided a comfortable, middle-class lifestyle for their daughter and raised her according to strict rules of courtesy, manners, and obedience. Shortly after Adams's birth the family moved to Los Angeles, where she attended an integrated primary school.

Adams and her parents fell victim to the influenza epidemic of 1918–1919. Mother and daughter returned to temperate Santa Barbara in 1920 at their doctor's recommendation and would suffer from chronic illness for the rest of their lives. Adams's father continued to work in Los Angeles for another four years and then died suddenly in 1924 shortly before he was to join the family in Santa Barbara During this period ...

Article

Shari Rudavsky

Numa Pompilius Garfield Adams was born in Delaplane, Virginia. Little is known about Adams's family and early life. He attended a country school run by his uncle Robert Adams. Adams received additional instruction and inspiration from his grandmother Amanda, a midwife who shared with him the secrets of herbal medicine. When Adams was thirteen, his family moved to Steelton, Pennsylvania. Soon Adams taught himself how to read music and purchased a used cornet, which he taught himself to play, a skill that later helped him pay for his education.

After graduating from high school in 1905, Adams spent a year as a substitute teacher in Steelton and another year teaching seventh grade in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. These jobs helped him earn sufficient money to pay for his college education, and in 1907 he left Pennsylvania to enter Howard University in Washington, D.C. He soon joined the Lyric ...

Article

Shari Rudavsky

physician and medical educator, was born in Delaplane, Virginia. Little is known about Adams's family and early life. He attended a country school run by his uncle, Robert Adams. Numa received additional instruction and inspiration from his grandmother Amanda, a midwife who shared with him the secrets of herbal medicine. When Numa Adams was thirteen, his family moved to Steelton, Pennsylvania. Soon Adams taught himself how to read music and purchased a used cornet, which he taught himself how to play.

After graduating from high school in 1905, Adams spent a year as a substitute teacher in Steelton and another year teaching seventh grade in Carlisle, Pennsylvania. These jobs helped him earn sufficient money to pay for his college education, and in 1907 he left Pennsylvania to enter Howard University in Washington D C He soon joined the Lyric Orchestra a dance band composed mostly of ...

Primary Source

Samuel R. Scottron was born in Philadelphia or New England in 1841, grew up in New York and Brooklyn, and worked in his father's sutler business in the South during the Civil War. While in Florida, he assisted in the first election (1864) in which freedmen were allowed to vote. He moved to Springfield, Massachusetts, shortly after the Civil War.

Scottron opened a barber shop where he noticed the patrons had trouble using handheld mirrors to check their hair. He invented and patented an adjustable mirror system that allowed all sides of the head to be seen at once. The manufactured mirrors were a market success, which afforded Scottron the opportunity to pursue interests in manufacturing, especially with wood and porcelain, as well as molded materials for decorative purposes on framing, supports, and mantels.

Scottron licensed the mirror patent and used the royalty money to finance his next business cornice ...

Article

For information on

Physical characteristics of the continent of Africa: See Climate of Africa; Geomorphology, African.

Rivers: See Congo River; Gambia River; Niger River; Nile River; Senegal River; Ubangi River; Zambezi River.

Deserts: See Drought and Desertification; Kalahari Desert ...

Article

Ana Raquel Fernandes

Also known as the Association for Promoting the Discovery of the Interior Parts of Africa, the African Association was founded in 1788 with the objective of sponsoring geographical expeditions to Africa, and in particular, to chart the course of the river Niger. A related aim was to open the African continent to British trade and influence. The founder member Sir Joseph Banks, a naturalist and a wealthy patron of science, was its president. The Association's first Proceedings were published in 1790, together with the account of Simon Lucas, one of the first explorers sent to Africa by the Association. However, Lucas's sensationalist travel memoirs were rapidly eclipsed by the publication of more accurate accounts produced by the celebrated explorers Mungo Park, the German Friedrich Hornemann, and the Swiss Jonathan Burckhardt, whose African expeditions were also sponsored by the Association.

With the assistance of Bryan Edward Secretary ...

Article

Robert Fay

Larger than the Asian elephant, which lives in Southeast Asia, the African elephant is grayish brown, with thin, rough body hair, and an elongated trunk and tusks. It reaches a height of 4 meters (13 feet) at the shoulder and can weigh as much as 7,000 kilograms (15,430 pounds). African elephants have distinctively large ears, which may measure 1.5 m (5 ft) from top to bottom. Like the Asian elephant, the African elephant is threatened by diminishing habitat and the demand for elephant tusks, which provide ivory.

The boneless muscular trunk the most distinctive feature of the elephant is actually a greatly elongated upper lip and nose Elephants use their trunk to convey grasses leaves and water to their mouth Elephants commonly feed in the morning evening and at night and rest during the middle of the day They consume as much as 150 kg 330 lb of forage a ...