I've been practicing TOEFL for a while and found that "the" with a noun can represent a kind of thing, like the dog. Of course, just the plural form of a noun can also represent a kind of thing, like dogs. So I'm wondering if there is any difference between them? For example, in TPO18:
A good example of this is something an animal called the American pronghorn does.
Pronghorns, as you may know, are a kind of deer-like animal.
Once a pronghorn starts running, none of its predators, like the bobcat or coyote, can even hope to catch up with it.
My first question is there any difference between them? The second question is, as a foreigner who just wants something fixed and convenient, can I say "the xxx" every time when I refer to a kind of thing? Of course, I'm fully aware that sentences like "I like apples" are idiomatic. But it gets tricky for me to use plurals or "the XXX" in some complex sentences like the above.