Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Okay, Okay, the Dark Side of Pandas

Just in time for Mother's Day Weekend, a most unsentimental piece by the NY Times' Natalie Angier on the decidedly non-maternal behavior (at least as we think of it) in animals. And as a language watcher, I have to ask: Natalie, what up with all the alliteration and rhyme in this story? Case in point:
Other mothers, like pandas, practice a postnatal form of family planning, giving birth to what may be thought of as an heir and a spare, and then, when the heir fares well, walking away from the spare with nary a fare-thee-well.
Still, it's well worth a read, complete with bizarro illos, as we say in the magazine business.


Anonymous daz said...

I'd never known that about panda moms until yesterday, when it was mentioned not only in the Natalie Angier article but also in the panda article Martha provided a link to.

It's tempting to demote pandas because of their 50% abandoned-child pandemic,
but they never would've evolved this trait if it hadn't conferred on them the ability to survive unpredictably lean years.

Before watching the pandas-at-play video yesterday, I never realized just how incredibly cute pandas are. Thanks for the link!

3:48 PM  
Blogger Martha said...


And yes, daz, if you visited Su Lin and her mommy Bai Yun at the San Diego and looked at the accompanying exhibit, you'd know not only that the often give birth to twins, but that the scent glands make their butts smell like rancid butter. (I didn't get to smell any panda butt, but they do have a helpful display where you can stick your nose to smell simulated pandabutt. Yum!

8:34 PM  

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