Eating your kids may improve your sex life? Sounds fishy.
Maybe try counseling first before you try this, married folks.
- The study looks at cannibalism in fish.
- If it doesn't look like the brood is going to be 'productive,' it might get eaten.
- Don't try this at home. Seriously, don't. Human beings deserve love and respect.
If you are a male fish who doesn't understand why your reproductive impulse has dimmed and you haven't yet read Jonathan Swift's Modest Proposal, what, with the mysteries of human communication to conquer and all, then science wants to let you know: you might want to consider eating your kids.
The typical hypothesis regarding animals eating their young usually stems from the observation that parents will sometimes lack so much access to food that eating their offspring becomes a realistic option, but Y. Matsumoto of Nagasaki University and his colleagues recently published a study in Current Biology that notes that the barred-chin blenny fish find cannibalism an "endocrinological necessity to restart courtship behavior for subsequent mating." In other words: if they wanted to take a shortcut to reactivating their reproductive cycle, this was the path they took. They eat the eggs in the name of future courting and guarding.
A Discus (Symphysodon spp.) guarding its eggs.
But, why? Why does the male blenny not simply wait out the birth of the offspring before returning to reproduction? If we're to use a study looking a little bit more broadly at cannibalism in fish as a point of reference, there's more than one answer here — sometimes the answer depends on when a batch of eggs are laid; sometimes it depends on the availability of mates; sometimes it's because the eggs that are being raised aren't their own; sometimes it depends on whether or not an egg predator is nearby — but one answer appears to be something of a zero sum game: if it doesn't look like the brood is going to be a 'productive' brood — if it's a small batch of eggs and the process of raising these kids will leave them at something of a competitive disadvantage (i.e., they're putting too much energy into raising small, weak fish) — then the eggs are eaten and the parents begin again, as eating the kids "acts to rapidly modulate androgen levels and therefore courtship."
"Selection plainly favors females that lay large clutches," Gil G. Rosenthal writes in a summary of the study. "Selection also should favor females that can anticipate the probability of clutch destruction."
So if you're a male worried about your testosterone dropping over time, maybe you should pay a visit to The Island Of Dr. Moreau and have a go at trying to turn yourself into a fish. If you accomplish that goal, then you know you have a path in front of you to help ensure that certain things stay competitive.
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Can sensitive coral reefs survive another human generation?
- Coral reefs may not be able to survive another human decade because of the environmental stress we have placed on them, says author David Wallace-Wells. He posits that without meaningful changes to policies, the trend of them dying out, even in light of recent advances, will continue.
- The World Wildlife Fund says that 60 percent of all vertebrate mammals have died since just 1970. On top of this, recent studies suggest that insect populations may have fallen by as much as 75 percent over the last few decades.
- If it were not for our oceans, the planet would probably be already several degrees warmer than it is today due to the emissions we've expelled into the atmosphere.
Research has shown that men today have less testosterone than they used to. What's happening?
- Several studies have confirmed that testosterone counts in men are lower than what they used to be just a few decades ago.
- While most men still have perfectly healthy testosterone levels, its reduction puts men at risk for many negative health outcomes.
- The cause of this drop in testosterone isn't entirely clear, but evidence suggests that it is a multifaceted result of modern, industrialized life.
Michael Dowling, Northwell Health's CEO, believes we're entering the age of smart medicine.
- The United States health care system has much room for improvement, and big tech may be laying the foundation for those improvements.
- Technological progress in medicine is coming from two fronts: medical technology and information technology.
- As information technology develops, patients will become active participants in their health care, and value-based care may become a reality.
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