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Showing posts from April, 2011

My mistake / Wonderful life

A few days ago I wrote that, compared to other animals we are born early, and do an unusual amount of developing after birth.  
On reflection, it would have been more accurate to say, "unlike other mammals".  
Animals in general have a lot of weird and wonderful ways of managing the early stages of development -- laying eggs, for instance, and either sitting on them until they hatch, like most birds, or trusting them to their own fates, like frogs do.
But even among mammals, I've realised, we're far from being the only unusual ones:  
The platypus and echidna are mammals, but they lay eggs.  
Marsupials are mammals, but they emerge from the womb in a very rudimentary shape, and migrate to their mothers' pouches, where they spend more time developing than they do in the womb.  

A more appropriate comparison would have been between us and the rest of the placental mammals, including rats, bats, cats, and whales.  
Other placental mammals give birth to little ones who are …

Fourth trimester

Since I've been working on my dissertation, I've not been able to write on the blog recently.  But now the dissertation is done, I can pick up Asa's story again. Asa is 80 days old today: a little under 3 months.  So far he's racked up the following list of accomplishments:
Feeding.  He's got that down, at least as far as breast milk goes.  Crapping.  Also under control. Growing.  He has grown prodigiously, acquiring a second chin and adding rolls of spare fat to his legs.Crying.  Thankfully he doesn't do this too much.  But when he's unhappy, he lets us know.Smiling!  He started doing this after about 35 days, and does it a lot.  (He has even laughed a little in his sleep.)Moving around.  Placed on his stomach, he supports his head and writhes about a good deal.  He doesn't yet get very far.Finger-sucking.  Sometimes this happens in the womb, I've heard.  For Asa, it seemed to happen in the course of routine flailing, but recently he brings his hand …