May 9, 2006

Macabre mothers.

Natalie Angier badmouths motherhood.

15 comments:

Jennifer said...

Way to wreck my blissful Disney-infused ignorance. Thanks, Natalie!

MadisonMan said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
MadisonMan said...

Someone needs to write a Gashlycrumb Tinies for Ma Nature.

Bruce Hayden said...

There is usually good reason for any of these non-motherly actions. For example, in many of these species, they have the spare, and if food is esp. plentiful, the spare(s) survive, to increase the population. Othewise, sorry.

I suggest that part of why we expect our mothers to be so mothering is first that our closest relatives, the chimps are almost as good. There are reports of mothers carrying their just deceased babies for hours after their deaths.

But that also ties into that both our species typically have one live birth at a time and have to provide a lot of resources to it, so, compared to, for example, rabbits, it pays for our mothers to provide a lot of care.

Also, while I don't know how often it happens, there are occasions where human mothers carry twins, and one ends up taking most of the resources, and, in a previous era, the second one would invariably die - often before birth, but sometimes shortly thereafter.

Ann Althouse said...

The vast majority of these evil mothers were birds. It's birds we should be very suspicious of.

Aspasia M. said...

But what about penguins! Penguins make good parents.

Ann Althouse said...

Angier slams penguins.

Jennifer said...

It's birds we should be very suspicious of.

Or eat.

Bissage said...

It is true that birds are evil. Still, many are good mothers who steal human food to regurgitate into the waiting mouths of their evil babies.

BrianOfAtlanta said...

Contrast this to the mother of the two barred owl chicks my parents helped raise. One fell from the nest so my folks put it in an open cardboard box on the porch (which is more like a 2nd story balcony on the back of the house). They fed the chick and its sibling when it also fell out of the nest. Mother owl located her missing offspring and came by to feed it (and later them) at night. A few weeks later they fledged and she took them with her into the woods. That was one determined mother.

Aspasia M. said...

bummer. March of the Penguins was a big lie!


but what about elephants? They're good mothers.

Goesh said...

Lotta' Otter

An otter ate its litter
wretched critter
for lack of babysitter-

Pogo said...

I guess Natalie's mom won't be expecting a card this week.

Ann Althouse said...

I was just at a lunch at a big table in a small room with big prints of birds of prey looming on every wall. I was looking across the room at a large picture of two hawks stripping meat off a duck carcass. Beautiful prints, but kind of nutty dining room decoration. (At the University Club here in Madison, Wisconsin.)

Tibore said...

"a large picture of two hawks stripping meat off a duck carcass. Beautiful prints, but kind of nutty dining room decoration."

No, professor, it's to stimulate the appetite. You're supposed to follow that example. Doesn't that place serve duck?

;)

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Off topic - Word verification:
luxfbjhd

Lux Fib Jihad? There's a post about light, lying, and war in there somewhere, but I can't quite put my finger on it...