August 14, 2019

Homosexuality in Nature

The ubiquity of homosexuality that occurs in nature means that its existence is likely to be explained in different ways in different scenarios. In truth, biologists often get carried away with our requirement to find an evolutionary purpose for all animal behaviours. While this makes good scientific sense for the most part, there are times when it doesn’t. Sex is awesome. Humans engage in homosexual and heterosexual activities completely outside the realm of biological fitness.
Rape is common among animals. Biologists call it sexual coercion so that we have a fancy and less offensive term to use, but the fact of the matter is that it’s animal rape. Females of several mammalian and primate species possess a suite of physiological adaptations that can ultimately result in abortions; however, it isn’t a cognitive process. The body can recognize that something isn’t right, whether that’s the timing, the partner, or something else.

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