Re: Are we "special"?

Bill Burnett (
6 Dec 1996 10:18:50 GMT

"John Waters" <> wrote:
>Bill Burnett <> wrote in article
>> "John Waters" <> wrote:
>> >>
>> >>Consider the little matter of human multi-age broods of
>> >>young. Apes have single-age broods. In fact, the human
>> >>species is the only species of mammal to rear multi-age
>> >>broods of infants to maturity.
>> How about kangaroos?
>JW: See my reply to Michael Daunt, Bill. Kangaroos do not
>feed two differently aged young at the same time. Only one
>age group gets on the Kangaroo nipple. If the Joey is old
>enough to eat grass, it does so without any help from its

Hmmm, and there I was labouring under the misapprehensions

1) that the ability of female 'roos to provide milk with different
nutritional contents to two offspring simultaneously from different
nipples was one of their most remarkable abilities - but this is
anecdotal so I'm happy to see it disputed.


2) that whether or not Joey is drinking milk, Joey is by definition a
juvenile and therefore has not yet reached maturity. 5 year old children
don't generally suckle either.


3) while Joey Major and Joey Minor are still in the pouch, Joey Minimus
is developing in the womb and if that's not a multi-age brood then pass
the mayonaise and I'll eat my hat.

Bill Burnett
Scottish Association for Marine Science
P.O.Box 3, Oban, Argyll, Scotland