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Questions tagged [mammals]

Questions related to mammals, animals that nurse their young, have a neocortex, and three middle ear bones.

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63 votes
4 answers
61k views

Why don't mammals have more than 4 limbs?

Arthropods have 6 or more limbs and arthropods with 6 limbs appear to move faster than arthropods with 8 limbs so I wonder whether this might have something to do with fast and efficient locomotion. ...
Aidan Rocke's user avatar
36 votes
2 answers
24k views

Are there any non-mammalian species known that lactate?

Are there any non-mammalian animals that produce milk to feed their young, or are mammals the only milk-producing animals?
Bohemian's user avatar
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26 votes
1 answer
3k views

Specific mechanism behind lethality of yellow coat color in mice

Our high school genetics chapter has some extra information about L.Cuenot. It only covered his research, and the fact that mice homozygous for yellow coat color would die before birth. It was an ...
Amarylis Vaselaar's user avatar
23 votes
1 answer
9k views

Why can't humans drink sea water?

Why can't humans drink sea water? It would seem to be a huge evolutionary advantage for an animal to be able to drink sea water rather than have to rely on fresh water, and it's provably not ...
Ben's user avatar
  • 249
23 votes
1 answer
158k views

Can a person really die quickly from biting their tongue?

A common trope in certain circles (like Eastern martial fiction), is someone committing quick suicide by biting his or her tongue. But is this really possible? The internet turns up millions of ...
Brock Adams's user avatar
22 votes
3 answers
61k views

Do cows produce milk excessively?

Do cows produce more milk than it is required for their calves? It seems like cows are able to provide milk all the time (all year around). Is it so? Or do they, like other mammals, produce milk only ...
Maxim V. Pavlov's user avatar
22 votes
2 answers
23k views

Evolutionarily, why do male rats and horses lack nipples?

Developmentally male rats don't have nipples because (reddit) Testosterone release in the fetal male rat happens before the stage of mammogenesis where the teat is formed whereas other species halt ...
mic's user avatar
  • 344
21 votes
3 answers
5k views

Why is wombat scat (feces) shaped like cubes?

I've heard that wombat scat is cube shaped, but I don't understand how that can happen. Has anyone studied the phenomenon? What would the evolutionary pressure have been to cause this?
ASimonis's user avatar
  • 398
20 votes
2 answers
36k views

How and why did mammals go back to the oceans?

If I understand evolutionary biology correctly, mammals first evolved on land as small, rodent-like creatures, in a time when reptiles were dominant on land. Eventually, they diversified into the ...
HDE 226868's user avatar
  • 1,405
19 votes
1 answer
769 views

What effect does a bat's echolocation have on other bats?

Bat echolocation is a perceptual system where ultrasonic sounds are emitted specifically to produce echoes. By comparing the outgoing pulse with the returning echoes, the brain and auditory nervous ...
M.A.R.'s user avatar
  • 573
18 votes
4 answers
853 views

What sea animal is this?

I am in a remote village and a young boy (second pic holding tail) says this thing is his friend. This creature is safe, we held it for pictures and released it after. None of us know what this is and ...
Jude's user avatar
  • 181
17 votes
1 answer
3k views

Could a fetus properly develop in micro/zero-gravity?

I suppose another way of looking at the question is: how important is gravity for the development of mammal fetuses? And if things would go wrong, what sort of things would they be, and what would be ...
Chris Cooper's user avatar
13 votes
1 answer
3k views

What species of fox is this?

I found this picture of a fox in a news article about arctic foxes in Sweden (source), but I'm not sure whether it is actually an arctic fox. On the one hand, it has white fur, which is the correct ...
Gwen's user avatar
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13 votes
3 answers
5k views

Why is mammal coloration so dull?

I have seen species of birds, insects and fishes with splendid colours. But when it comes to mammals (including us humans), they almost always appear in shades of brown, grey, orange, or in black and ...
Question Overflow's user avatar
12 votes
1 answer
8k views

Mammal body density

Human body density is approximately 1 kg/l (same as fresh water) - which is not surprising (at first) given that we are 70% water, and is surprising (on a second thought), given that the other 30% can ...
sds's user avatar
  • 309
12 votes
2 answers
3k views

What hair do aquatic mammals have?

I'm reading an essay on the creating of the Mammalia zoological classification (Londa Schiebinger, The American Historical Review, Vol. 98, No. 2 (Apr., 1993), pp. 382-411). It contains the statement ...
Canageek's user avatar
  • 275
12 votes
2 answers
206 views

Can dolphins actually communicate linguistically?

Humans use "language." By language, I mean the thing I am using right now to talk to you. I know dolphins and orcas have very complex communication systems and also seem to process linguistic and ...
Stan Shunpike's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

Does interspecies breastfeeding occur in the wild?

Does interspecies breastfeeding occur in the wild? Say, for example, a zebra feeding a wildebeest, or a bushbuck feeding a gazelle. There is a Wikipedia page on this topic but it only shows animal-...
Samid's user avatar
  • 307
11 votes
2 answers
2k views

Squirrel nest construction

I've often wondered how squirrels -- specifically, eastern grey squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis) make their nests. Specifically, I've been curious about how they "weave" everything together to make ...
theforestecologist's user avatar
11 votes
2 answers
3k views

How conscious are mammals that mating leads to pregnancy and offspring?

Does a pregnant female mammal know that its pregnancy is the consequence of a previous mating? Or are humans the only mammals which are conscious of it?
obi77's user avatar
  • 111
10 votes
2 answers
67k views

Do male mammals other than humans have nipples?

When I grew rabbits, I had a pair, one male and one female. And while the female's nipples were quite prominent, especially after giving birth, I don't remember the male having any nipples at all. Do ...
SIMEL's user avatar
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10 votes
2 answers
28k views

How do other primates treat their fingernails?

Do all primates have to trim their fingernails in some way, or do some primates' fingernails wear off through natural use? Also, is constant nail growth common to all primates?
BigPic's user avatar
  • 111
10 votes
1 answer
4k views

How did dolphins acquire their dorsal fin?

I had been thinking bout atavism when I saw a picture of a dolphin. I had seen it before, but suddenly the dorsal fin startled me. How did this dorsal fin evolve? Is it some atavism from eons ago, a ...
user avatar
10 votes
1 answer
773 views

Identify this vertebra

I was walking on the beach in New Jersey (U.S.), at about 40 degrees longitude, and found this bone. It's not a fish. The long process in the front is interesting. It is likely a C2 vertebra. I looked ...
Karl Kjer's user avatar
  • 7,663
9 votes
1 answer
3k views

Why do squirrels have twitchy bushy tails?

Whenever I see a squirrel in the woods, it is always the big bushy tail flipping around that gets my attention first. A pray animal with a big bushy flag calling attention to it's self seems to be ...
James Jenkins's user avatar
9 votes
5 answers
14k views

Why do most mammals have long snouts?

It seems like most mammals, e.g. dogs, have long snouts. My pet dog's snout would seem to me like an evolutionary disadvantage, since her canine teeth are way out at the end of her jaw, which acts as ...
user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
180 views

Do camels pose an environmental threat to kangaroos?

Camels, once used for transport across the Australian outback, were set free, and are reproducing at an uncontrolled rate in the empty interior of Australia. Do the ecosystems of camels and ...
Gordon Stanger's user avatar
9 votes
3 answers
14k views

Why have whales and dolphins not evolved to have gills? [duplicate]

It seems at first glance that it would be an evolutionary disadvantage for a sea creature to have to come up to the surface on a regular basis in order to breathe, so why are there animals (e.g. ...
Esteemator's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
270 views

How can bats achieve good resolution with wide beams?

I have been reading about the echolocation system in bats. papers state that bats tend to produce a sonar beam that has a beam angle (-3db) of about 30-40 degrees. This would be considered a wide beam ...
Amr Morssy's user avatar
9 votes
2 answers
13k views

How do marine mammals control buoyancy?

Presumably, as a whale or seal dives, its lungs get compressed by the increasing water pressure, and it gets less buoyant. Under this model, for a given amount of air taken in at the surface, the ...
SuperElectric's user avatar
9 votes
1 answer
446 views

Identification of a mammal in cage

This unidentified animal was trapped in northern part of Kerala State India and images circulated through social media. Doea anyone know what species this is?
Ram Manohar M's user avatar
8 votes
2 answers
1k views

Goats are so fearless but sheep are not. Is there any genetic difference responsible?

As you see in the picture goats (not only wild goats) are so fearless, but I never saw any sheep do this. What is the source of this difference in behavior?
MySky's user avatar
  • 2,274
8 votes
1 answer
3k views

Picture of a camel's red blood cells

I'm an art student in need of a little help. I'm looking for microscopic pictures of camel's red blood cells, I need their shape for an art project. The pictures I find on Google seem a little ...
Helle P.'s user avatar
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

Are Sloth tongues soft or rough?

Are Sloth tongues soft or rough? Dogs have soft tongues, while cats have rough tongues, so the feeling when they lick e.g. a human hand is quite different. So what about sloths? This question came ...
Wilbert's user avatar
  • 191
8 votes
1 answer
1k views

Biggest change in size from birth

Which mammal has the largest change in size from birth to fully grown percentage wise?
Terry's user avatar
  • 183
8 votes
1 answer
916 views

What species is this mammal?

I saw a mammal that looked like a large squirrel. I haven't seen anything quite like it. Can you help me identify it? Squirrel-like, "hunched over" posture. It was too large to be an eastern squirrel&...
tir38's user avatar
  • 183
8 votes
1 answer
464 views

What is the reason for fear induced defecation?

I started to handle mice for my job and noticed that they tend to defecate and/or urinate when they are scared. The fear is induced by me, because I need a long time (due to inexperience) to grab the ...
Brian's user avatar
  • 215
8 votes
1 answer
132 views

Do individual mammal hairs absorb water?

In my look into the world of shaving I've seen claims that it is better to shave after a shower because the hairs will absorb water and soften, making the shave easier. Likewise, I've seen it claimed ...
Sean Lake's user avatar
  • 529
8 votes
2 answers
133 views

What British bat is this?

What kind of bat is this? I saw it flying quickly between trees in Buckinghamshire, UK, at about 4pm in September (so about three hours before sunset). I think it might be a common noctule but I was ...
David Richerby's user avatar
8 votes
0 answers
123 views

Why are animal's whiskers in a square lattice?

I was observing my cat up close when I noticed his whiskers were in a square lattice as a novice mathematician, took notice of it and wanted to know if any other animal had this peculiar feature, so I ...
Einsteinium's user avatar
7 votes
3 answers
1k views

Why haven't land animals evolved beyond urination?

It occurred to me (while urinating) that this would seem to be selected against because water is a scarce resource. Why are we constantly losing water we don't need to through urination? What is ...
ThePopMachine's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
21k views

The number of nipples (breasts) a species has?

Only mammals have mammaries and mammary glands. What evolutionary factors determines the number of mammaries (nipples/teats/breasts) a species has? Is it always an even number?
hello_there_andy's user avatar
7 votes
2 answers
2k views

Why do rabbits often have white hindquarters?

There are several species of herbivores that have a very visible white hindquarters: several kinds of deer, rabbits, antelopes, etc. Does the white fur serve a functional purpose, or is it purely ...
Boar's user avatar
  • 73
7 votes
2 answers
1k views

Are humans the only mammals that are known to display homosexuality?

REQUEST: In this post I do not refer to, nor do I encourage reference to, any ethical/moral/emotional aspects of homosexuality. So please don't start an pro/anti- LGBT campaign in the comments section....
paracetamol's user avatar
  • 1,569
7 votes
2 answers
681 views

Why does botulinum toxin seem to be more dangerous to humans than to other mammals?

Various mammals seem to get away with eating parts of carcasses that we would prefer to not even touch, and that we assume will make us sick. Because of that, I assume botulinum toxin is more ...
Volker Siegel's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
1k views

Are there any animals that are unable to hear the human voice?

Humans and animals have different hearing ranges. The frequency range of a human, for example, is stated with 20 Hz to 20 kHz, whereas the fundamental voice frequency is stated with 125 Hz for men, ...
Tausendsassa's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
279 views

What is the biochemistry of love?

How is love induced between humans? Say, between mother and child, couples, etc. Does the phenomenon of love exist in other mammals, too?
San's user avatar
  • 523
7 votes
1 answer
235 views

Why are recombination rates increasing in mammals?

I have recently become fascinated with an awesome topic in biology and evolution that I feel is rarely covered in biology courses. That is, rates of meiotic recombination, or the the amount that an ...
petersoapes's user avatar
7 votes
1 answer
289 views

Is it theoretically possible to restore the Tiger population to 100,000?

The current global Tiger population is roughly 5100 according to Wikipedia. With habitat destruction and poaching continuing and no effective improvement in conservation, most likely the Tiger ...
math_lover's user avatar
6 votes
3 answers
6k views

What is the difference between the evolution of fins in whales and fish?

For a homework assignment I received the following question: Which statement best explains the evolution of fins in whales and fish? a. The common ancestor of whales and fish possessed genes for ...
YAHB's user avatar
  • 1,679

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