13 May 2013

Conjuring with rainbow names and handfuls of sea-spray

Mnemiopsis leidyi

Chapter 22: Venus's Girdle

page 316: [Cteonophore] lineage is uncertain. A major for reason for this is that their DNA appears to be evolving extremely fast.

page 316 (marginal note): bioluminescent glow. A readable introduction to remarkable  bioluminescent creatures in the ocean here.  Another good resource here.

page 319: animal pleasure is not something from which the primatologist Sue Savage-Rumbaugh has shied away. In the case of bonobos “the novelty and innovation never seems to end”:
“Observations...indicate that there [is] no tendency toward ‘normalization’ of position or time of copulation.” Savage-Rumbaugh also chronicles the various sounds that the bonobos make while having sex. Chimps make one sound. The bonobos have a variety of cries (naturally), including one known as the “long modulated squeal.” With as much sobriety as Savage-Rumbaugh can muster, she writes, “It changes pitch and phonetic aspect at least once, sometimes twice, and is rather poorly represented as ‘we ee e.’ ”

This is the twenty-third in a new series of notes and comments on chapters in The Book of Barely Imagined Beings. It appears around the time of the US publication, and adds to an earlier series that appeared around UK publication.

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