Suicides

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The famous British-Indian geneticist J.B.S. Haldane is often quoted to have said he was quite willing to die for two siblings and 8 cousins, a statement, which is of course based on genetic relatedness, later expounded mathematically by William D. Hamilton in his studies on kin selection. Altruism and putting oneself in danger to protect or save other individuals, usually closely related ones, is not confined to humans but actually widespread in animals. —>

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Human hairiness

Why is the “naked ape” not really naked?

Desmond Morris called the human species ”The Naked Ape” in his famous book of the same title. But even without clothes, when we are indeed naked, we are not hairless. Our entire body (with the notable exceptions of the insides of our hands and feet, the area around the nipples, and the lips) is covered with hairs. Continue reading

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Animal villains

Who said animals don’t lie?

I know a lady, who says she prefers animal to human company, because animals don’t lie or commit crimes. Even her dog, she claims, admits with a guilty demeanour if it has done anything naughty.

Being a scientist, I was naturally a bit skeptical on hearing this and wondered whether there was some truth in what the lady claimed. Sure, most humans know how to lie and some cheat or deliberately give false information. One can hide one’s anger behind a smile, or fake cheerfulness and the shapely body of many a film star is not always as natural a product as one is made to believe. Even the words “everything is all right now” may mean that real trouble is only just to begin. Continue reading