July 31, 2019

Mammal Motherhood

When a female gets pregnant, from the moment that egg is fertilized, it sets in motion an irreversible chain of events – physiological, emotional, and physical. Female mammals start out as one animal. When she gets pregnant, she goes through the most energetically expensive processes that a mammal will ever experience. She grows a baby, she gives birth, she lactates… she never returns to her “pre-baby” self in terms of physiology, physicality, emotionality and cognition.

July 24, 2019

Mammal Parents

Imagine building a building. You need supplies, the equipment, the manual labour… A man drops off one brick. A woman does absolutely everything else. In the end, a building is finished. That’s kind of how babies are made. Shutterstock Mammals have internal fertilization. Once a male has deposited his seed, one cell, that’s all that he needs to do. Males have tens of millions of sperms per ejaculate. Females ovulate just one egg per month.
animal grandmas
Animal grandmas are often unable to reproduce at this later point in their life. The next best thing biologically speaking is to help rear children who are close relatives. For the most part, parents trust grandparents for two reasons. The parents were raised well enough to survive and reproduce, and maternal grandmas are 25% related to the children which imparts a sense of biological closeness and responsibility. Elephant grandmas help protect their grandchildren. There have
Nerd Nite Vancouver goes to the movies! Join me tonight, July 10, at the Vancity Theatre for “SciFact vs. SciFi: Animals According to Hollywood“. I’ll be giving a presentation before this week’s screening of The Birds. We will take a look at science in movies, separating science fiction from science fact in clips from Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Arachnophobia, Snakes on a Plane, and more. Hollywood doesn't always get things right when
mating calls
Many females rely on the mating songs of males to gain information about the males without even seeing them. Males use their vocalizations to gain access to females. Shutterstock What can females learn from a male’s mating songs? A song has easy and difficult aspects, and it is the difficult aspects that separate the men from the boys. Anyone can tweet out “Row-Row-Row Your Boat,” but what about a stunning rendition of Beethoven’s Fifth? Songbird
vaccines
Before vaccines were available, between three- to four-hundred thousand Canadians would get the measles every year. This disease leads to permanent blindness, brain damage, and even death. Vaccines were created to protect us. Because of the efficacy of vaccinations, we were able to obliterate this disease from Canada in the late 1990s and from the States in the early 2000s. Shutterstock Not all countries have effective vaccination programs. This means that travelers coming to the
Spotted hyena females have a pseudopenis, or penile-clitoris. This makes it nearly impossible to differentiate between the sexes. It’s even possible for females to achieve erections. Their external labia are fused together and form a pseudoscrotum. As you can imagine, the act of copulation is not simple. The female must first retract her penile-clitoris into her own body. Think about turning a sock inside out. The male can only insert his penis once the female