biology zoology blog benno meyer rochow embryonic diapause

Embryonic Diapause: what the heck is that?

I once read the novel “Kappa” by the acclaimed Japanese novelist Akutagawa and was reminded of it when I was contemplating writing this blog about an embryonic diapause, a situation in which an embryo stays and waits in the womb to develop and to come out not until conditions are optimal for its emergence. In Akutagawa’s novel the offspring decides when and if they want to be born. Something a little similar to that actually exists amongst several species of mammals, although it seems that here the maternal organisms control and decide the best time for the young to be born. —>—>

biology zoology blog benno meyer rochow rats as food

Rats on the Plate and on your Palate

“If you can’t beat them, eat them!”

When I lived in Japan, I knew I had mice in my apartment. They had found my chocolate and had torn holes into the cover and eaten some: you could see their toothmarks. I also saw some quite regularly when I happened to enter the kitchen at night and switched on the light. But it weren’t the mice that made me seek a different flat, it was when I had rats in my bedroom! These clever, but not exactly charming rodents, must have resided behind the cupboard in the wall and on four occasions traps I had placed around my bedroom caught one of them. There are people who love rats and keep them as pets and in many parts of Asia credit is given to the rats’ intelligence, their adaptability and hardiness and even temples (e.g., the Karni Mata) dedicated to rats exist in India, because Hindus believe that a rat had helped to carry Lord Ganesh around the world. And there are many people who’d claim that there was nothing more delicious than rat meat on your plate, rat fried or roasted, or rat as a stew or casserole. —>—>

biology zoology blog benno meyer rochow testosterone

What the cockerel needed to turn into a cock

The story of testosterone

Every day on my way to my office in the Electron Microscopy Unit of the University of the West Indies in Jamaica, I passed a small monument, dedicated to a famous British scientist. It was Ernest Henry Starling, who was buried in Jamaica in 1927 and commemorated with that monument. Starling was a physiologist who had made significant contributions to our understanding of the function of the heart, muscles, and kidneys, but who is perhaps remembered most for having coined the word “hormone” for the chemical messengers in human and animal bodies. —>—>