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. —>—>
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. —>—>
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. —>—>