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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. —>—>

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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. —>—>

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Reductions and Concentrations

Advantages of having less

One of the most frequent comments I have to scribble on the margin of my students’ essays, assignments and reports is “condense” or “shorten and compress”. It’s exactly what evolution has done (via the survival of the fittest) with certain organs and structures of the animal body. In a way it’s the opposite of what I had written in a different blog about duplications and repetitive structural elements (the million of identical nephrons in the kidney come to mind, the hundreds of identical legs in some millipedes ring a bell and even the dozens of identical teeth in the mouths of dolphins may be remembered). Therefore, how about the opposite? It’s actually easier to find examples for reductions of structural entities in animals and we can almost use examples from the same animal groups mentioned earlier in connection with duplications. —>—>