Tuesday, April 6, 2010

OfFood,Sex,What Flies and What Does Not,The Inner Self,Humanity and Nature

drawing by marguerita

copyrights by marguerita

One primatologist speculated that the real reason two male orangutans were fellating each other was nutritional.

In 2007, the University of Illinois neurobiologist David Featherstone and several colleagues, while searching for new drug treatments for Lou Gehrig’s disease, happened upon a discovery: a specific protein mutation in the brain of male fruit flies made the flies try to have sex with other males.

What the mutation did, more specifically, was tweak the fruit flies’ sense of smell, making them attracted to male pheromones — mounting other males was the end result.

Grasping for parallels with animals can create emotional truths, though it usually results in slushy logic. It’s na├»ve to slap conclusions about a given species directly onto humans.

But it’s disingenuous to ignore the possibility of any connection. “A lot of zoologists are suspicious, I think, of applying the same evolutionary principles to humans that they apply to animals,” Paul Vasey, the Japanese-macaque researcher, told me. There’s an understandable tendency among some scientists to play down those links to stave off ideological misreading and controversy.

“But broadly speaking, research on animals can inform research on humans,” Vasey says. What we learn about one species can expand or reorient our approach to others;

a well-supported finding about one animal’s behavior can generate new hypotheses worth testing in another. “My research on Japanese macaques might influence how someone conducts their research on octopus, or their research on moose.Note:

Or in fact in husbands. So called of the human kind...

Or their research on humans,” he said. In fact, it has influenced Vasey’s own research on humans.http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/04/magazine/04animals-t.html?ref=global-home

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