From birds to lizards and mammals, parents put effort into showing their offspring how to forage effectively. That is, how to obtain nutrition while maintaining a balance with other activities in accordance with optimal foraging theory. In the natural world, juveniles are no longer fed by their parents after weaning or fledging, making the acquisition of foraging skills imperative for survival. If the skills required for food provisioning have not yet been learned by the
and on his farm he had an aphid, ee-i-ee-i-o Photo via Adobe Stock Humans have perfected the art of farming. We have learned to create beautiful, healthy crops of fruits, vegetables, and meats to feed our masses. Most of the landscape in the area where I live has been altered so as to maximize output from the plants and animals dwelling there. Once an area has been cleared for farming, care is taken to ensure
Although it’s impossible to simply ask another primate mom to explain how they are feeling and whether they may be depressed, we can infer that yes, animal moms are vulnerable to the effects of PPD. By examining behaviours and levels of stress hormones, we can get an idea of how other moms handle difficult postpartum situations. Photo via Adobe Stock For many primates, their unfortunate predicament of being in captivity is something that causes them
Humans are remarkably non-biological when it comes to kin recognition. Members of our species, at least those of us who aren’t identical twins or who don’t look a lot like their relatives, are faced with the task of recognizing our own kin. For the most part, we do this easily through learned experiences such as living close together, communicating with close kin, and observing one another. Another potential problem humans have mitigated through learned experiences
The tree frog Dendropsophus ebraccatus utilizes a strange form of parental plasticity that is almost unique in the animal kingdom. These parents can deposit their eggs in either terrestrial or aquatic habitats. Photo by Charles J Sharp – Own work, from Sharp Photography, BY-SA 4.0 This is extremely rare, seeing as the adaptations for aquatic eggs are quite different than those for terrestrial ones. In water, eggs tend to be specialized to extract oxygen. On land, eggs
Dung beetle (Onthophagus atripennis) parents provision their future offspring by collecting dung. They transport it to a series of underground tunnels that they have excavated for that precise purpose. Once at the blind end of a tunnel, the dung will be shaped into a neat little “brood-ball.” Mom will deposit an egg into a specific chamber on the top of the ball. She seals it with more dung. These balls play an important role in
A certain level of sex-role reversal is observed in insects, amphibians, and birds, but nowhere is it more clearly developed than in the seahorses and pipefishes. In these species, males get pregnant and give birth to live young. Syngnathid fishes are best known for being sex-role reversed. Although the possibility of lactation in male mammals is tantalizing, we don’t yet know enough about how it functions. A system for which we do have an abundance