biology zoology blog benno meyer rochow sunglasses birds

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. —>—>

biology zoology blog benno meyer rochow head brain

Head- and Brainless

Is learning something then still possible?

I love the questions that children have. Why isn’t the sun alive? What would happen if we had eyes also on the back of our head, like spiders? And, can we live without a brain?

Well, occasionally anencephalic children are born and they lack almost the entire brain. Few live longer than a few days after birth, but there is a case of an anencephalic infant having been kept alive for almost 3 years. And there is the famous legend of the 15th-century pirate Klaus Störtebeker, who was captured to be beheaded along with his crew. According to the legend, he struck a deal with the executioner that those men of his crew that he’d run past, after being decapitated, should get their freedom. And how many men did the headless Störtebeker then pass in order to save them: 11 according to the legend. —>—>

biology zoology blog benno meyer rochow embryonic diapause

Embryonic Diapause: what the heck is that?

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. —>—>