biology zoology blog benno meyer rochow parasites

Advantages of Handicaps and Entertaining Parasites: such situations do exist

Situations in which it can be an advantage to possess a handicap do exist and not just for men who want to avoid having to serve in the army, or girls with big breasts who can’t run or jump well but may get a movie contract, or individuals who exaggerate a condition in order to be selected to participate in the Paralympics. When visiting the Apatani in Arunachal Pradesh (India), the explanation given to me why their women used to have large holes with a piece of wood in the alae of their noses (the wings of the nose), I was told that it was to make them look ugly, unattractive. That must have been a handicap, but whether true or not, women with such nose perforations would have been less likely to be stolen or kidnapped by marauding tribes than women with more beautiful noses. Nowadays younger women no longer follow that practice. —>—>

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Centrestage for earthworms

The great Charles Darwin had a weakness for earthworms. On and off for 40 years he studied these creatures, observed, measured, and counted them and is known to have played his bassoon to them to determine if they were deaf. In 1881 he finally published his earthworm results in a book, in which, perhaps surprisingly, he even credited earthworms with intelligence and benevolence. —>—>

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Internal Sunglasses

Some birds appear to have sunglasses

Although I myself did not have to wear glasses (except perhaps sunglasses) until I turned 55, millions of people on Earth may view this simple ‘tool’ to improve the resolving power of their eyes as one of the greatest inventions ever made. Photographers, microscopists, and opticians can tell you that the aperture of an optical system not only controls the amount of light admitted (and thus the brightness of the image you see) but also the resolving power of the system. —>—>