Photographed by Bette Jackson
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Hi, I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson, out with the wild things. Ibises are wading birds that occur around the world and include about 32 species. These are birds that stand two to two-and-a-half-feet tall on long legs, have a long neck, and a long slender bill that they use to probe into mud and water in search of insects, worms, snails, and other small animals as food. Perhaps the most famous of ibises is the sacred ibis that was so revered by the ancient Egyptians that it is the animal most often found mummified in Egyptian tombs. Thoth, the Egyptian God of wisdom, writing, and magic was symbolized as a man with a head of an ibis. Thoth was believed to have given humans writing and our 365-day year. Unfortunately, reverence for Thoth and mummification of sacred ibises may have contributed to the bird’s extinction in Egypt. Fortunately, sacred ibises still occur farther south in Africa. In Florida, we have two common species of ibis: the white ibis and the glossy ibis. And like its Egyptian counterpart, our white ibis has taken on symbolic meaning: it's the mascot of the University of Miami Hurricanes, and is considered a symbol of knowledge.'With the Wild Things' is produced at the Whitaker Center in the College of Arts and Sciences at Florida Gulf Coast University. For 'The Wild Things', I'm Dr. Jerry Jackson.