biology zoology blog benno meyer rochow white albinism pigment

Herman Melville and his White Whale

White or pigmentless or both?

I was fascinated as a kid by Hermann Melville’s story about “Moby Dick”, the white sperm whale chased fanatically by Captain Ahab, but who eventually lost the struggle to kill the beast that had dominated his life and caused him never-ending sleepless nights. —>—>

Advertisements
biology azoology blog organs teeth growth allometry

Give a Little – and Take a Little

Increases of some structures appear to parallel decreases in others

It seems odd, but no animal with horns or antlers, whether fossil or recent, has all the teeth required to give it the complete and full dentition characteristics of mammals. No species of spider is known to possess the ability to sting, but all have a poisonous bite (although, luckily only a few possess poisons potent enough to harm humans). The most colourful birds like tropical parrots and Papua New Guinea birds-of-paradise leave a lot to be desired when it comes to their ability to sing and the increase in swim speeds of fish like the tuna apparently went hand in hand with the loss of the buoyancy organ, the swim bladder. There are lots more of such examples, but what am I trying to demonstrate with these examples? I’m trying to show that the development in one area frequently has consequences in another and that a “push” in one evolutionary direction can see a reversal in another. —>—>

zoology biology benno meyer rochow science blog pregnancy human dog

False Alarm for Female Physiology

Have you ever heard of “pseudocyesis”?

Teachers can have an enormous impact on whether a child likes a subject or not. I, for instance, hated math at middle school, but with a new teacher at high school I began to love math to an extent that I wanted to study it at university. History was another subject, whose teacher killed my early interest in it, because he demanded that we kids byhearted hundreds of historic dates. Had he told us of the pseudo-pregnancies (also known as false or phantom pregnancy and pseudocyesis) of Queen Mary in 1555, Queen Draga of Serbia in 1900 and the Zar’s wife Alexandra in 1903, history classes could have been so much more interesting! —>