Category Archives: Evolution

What is this strange object floating in our lake?

strange object 1
strange object 1

The Question: On two different occasions we have retrieved similar strange objects floating in the lake we stay at in New Hampshire. I know it looks like it could be latex or some other man-made material-but it had a fleshy feel and no openings that could be seen. We did not cut it open. It had a bit of a fishy smell. It was about 13 cm (5 inches) and more like flesh than a plant. What are these?

strange object 2
strange object 2

Submitted by: Alison, New Hampshire, USA

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Why are mallard drakes so aggressive?

The Question: Your answer to an earlier person taught me a lot about the behavior I’ve been seeing at my man-made pond at an apt complex. But isn’t it against rational “selection” that:
(1) drakes don’t respect hens who already HAVE ducklings (who I have seen all die from the mother never being around because she’s literally chased all day, and they go astray) and …
(2) especially, they are attacking a PREGNANT (often very pregnant, as in, can barely fly) hen, who already has eggs in her? I find that hardest to watch simply because it’s obviously so self-defeating.

(3) Finally: can this abort the pregnancy (eggs already in her), or alternatively: can they add their sperm, so she makes a few more eggs with the 2nd or 3rd drake’s genes, not just the first mate’s genes? The latter at least would make some sort of evolutionary sense.

Submitted by: Michael, Alabama, USA

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