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This Happened

This Happened — May 1: Fatal Crash Of A Formula 1 Legend

Ayrton Senna died on this day in 1994, in car crash during the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola.

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Who was Ayrton Senna?

Ayrton Senna was a Brazilian Formula One racing driver who is widely considered to be one of the greatest drivers in the history of the sport. He won three Formula One World Championships for McLaren in 1988, 1990 and 1991 and was known for his exceptional speed and skill on the track.

What happened during the San Marino Grand Prix at Imola?

During the qualifying session for the 1994 San Marino Grand Prix at Imola, Ayrton Senna's car went off the track and hit a wall at high speed. He suffered a fatal head injury as a result of the crash.

What caused Ayrton Senna's fatal crash?

The exact cause of Ayrton Senna's fatal crash has been the subject of much debate and investigation. The official report concluded that a combination of factors, including the design of the steering column and the suspension system of Senna's car, as well as the characteristics of the track at Imola, contributed to the accident.

What is Ayrton Senna's legacy?

Ayrton Senna's legacy as one of the greatest drivers in the history of Formula One is undisputed. He won 41 Grand Prix races and three World Championships during his career, and his skill, speed, and dedication to the sport have inspired countless racing fans and drivers around the world. His tragic death also led to important safety improvements in the sport, including changes to the design of cars and tracks, and a renewed focus on driver safety.

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A Naturalist's Defense Of The Modern Zoo

Zoos are often associated with animal cruelty, or at the very least a general animal unhappiness. But on everything from research to education to biodiversity, there is a case to be made for the modern zoo.

Photograph of a brown monkey holding onto a wired fence

A brown monkey hangs off of mesh wire

Marina Chocobar/Pexels
Fran Sánchez Becerril


MADRID — Zoos — or at least something resembling the traditional idea of a zoo — date back to ancient Mesopotamia. It was around 3,500 BC when Babylonian kings housed wild animals such as lions and birds of prey in beautiful structures known as the Hanging Gardens of Babylon.

Ancient China also played a significant role in the history of zoos when the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD) created several parks which hosted an assortment of animals.

In Europe, it wouldn't be until 1664 when Louis XIV inaugurated the royal menagerie at Versailles. All these spaces shared the mission of showcasing the wealth and power of the ruler, or simply served as decorations. Furthermore, none of them were open to the general public; only a few fortunate individuals, usually the upper classes, had access.

The first modern zoo, conceived for educational purposes in Vienna, opened in 1765. Over time, the educational mission has become more prominent, as the exhibition of exotic animals has been complemented with scientific studies, conservation and the protection of threatened species.

For decades, zoos have been places of leisure, wonder, and discovery for both the young and the old. Despite their past success, in recent years, society's view of zoos has been changing due to increased awareness of animal welfare, shifting sensibilities and the possibility of learning about wild animals through screens. So, many people wonder: What is the purpose of a zoo in the 21st century?

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