The Least Weasel is the smallest meat-eating placental mammal (carnivora) weighing as little as .88 oz (25g). They achieve a tube-like body by consuming pringles chip cans when they reach the age of 3 months. 

Photograph by Kellen Witschen


“Trust God” aka potentially die. No wonder the clinic wouldn’t do the procedure. I hope she gets help from an actual doctor and not these people.

If she dies because of this pregnancy, make no mistake, these people who have harassed her and annoyed her through text message played a part.

These screenshots were taken from a public Facebook.

Today (July 24, 2015) is the 101th birthday of pharmacologist, Dr. Frances Kelsey. She is renowned for her refusal to grant FDA approval of thalidomide in 1960, despite its widespread use in Europe at the time. Thalidomide had been considered a wonder drug for morning sickness in pregnant women, but it had yet to be discovered that thalidomide was actually a teratogen, or a chemical capable of crossing the placental barrier that causes birth defects. Thalidomide use resulted in children being born with limb deformations. 

Thalidomide is a classic example of chirality, occuring in a racemic mixture (equal parts of both the R and S enantiomers). Interestingly, due to the position of the chiral center, thalidomide is capable of racemizing in vivo, so separating the entantiomers for individual administration is futile, unfortunately. The same entantiomer that was responsible for binding to the protein cereblon, that prevented proper limb formation in children in the 1960s is now being used as a potent chemotherapeutic today!

Let’s take today to celebrate a pioneer female scientist who saved the US from thalidomide and made us reconsider how we address the safety and efficacy of pharmaceuticals!

Source: (x)

Image from Wikipedia.

Thanks to idristhetardisboardoffandom for bringing this to my attention!

Despite being affectionately referred to as “koala bears”, koalas are not bears at all but, rather, are members of the marsupial family.

Marsupials include kangaroos, wallabies, wombats, possums, and are identified by their pouch, which they use to raise their young. Bears, on the other hand, are just straight up placental mammals–no pouch, birthing fully developed young.

No, really, Konrad Gesner’s Monkey suuuper wants to know about that HILARIOUS thing your BFF did at the club last night, before she woke up in the park, under a bench!

Sometimes I start thinking about convergent evolution and get so excited that I have to go sit down


Echidnas and platypuses are monotremes, i.e. mammals which lay eggs (in contrast to marsupials and placental mammals which give birth to live young). Monotremes are only found in Australia and New Guinea and include four species of echidnas and a single species of platypus. 

Platypuses are one of a few venomous mammals. They have a gland in their feet from which venom is released. It is thought that it may be use to compete against other males during the mating season.   

Echidnas have the lowest body temperature of all mammals. Their average body temperature is around 32C and can fluctuate within 8 degrees over the course of a day. 

Drawings from Genera mammalium, por Angel Cabrera. Monotremata, Marsupialia

Bacteria found in healthy placentas (Nature News)

The placenta, long thought to be sterile, is home to a bacterial community similar to the one found in the mouth, researchers report . The microbes are generally non-pathogenic, but according to the authors of the study, variations in their composition could be at the root of common but poorly understood pregnancy disorders such as preterm birth, which occurs in one out of every ten pregnancies.

In 2012, Kjersti Aagaard, an obstetrician at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas, and her collaborators found that the most abundant microbes in an expectant mother’s vagina were different from those in a non-pregnant woman, but were not generally representative of those that were most common in the stool of an infant in its first week of life1. To investigate where these microbes were coming from, the team decided to examine the placenta.

In the new study, the researchers took samples of placental tissue from 320 women just after delivery, extracted DNA from the tissue and sequenced it. They found that the weight of the mother or whether she gave birth by caesarean or vaginally did not seem to change the makeup of the placental microbiome. But, Aagaard says, the bacterial community “was different among women who either experienced a preterm birth or had a much earlier infection, such as a urinary tract infection — even if that infection was treated and cured many months or weeks previously”. Their findings are published in Science Translational Medicine2.

The amniotic sac in which a fetus grows is a sterile environment, but the placenta — an organ the fetus shares with the mother — is home to a bacterial community.

Thank goodness it’s Fossil Friday! 

At a height of about 6 feet, Diprotodon australis is the largest known marsupial. It belongs to a group containing many species that were the ecological equivalents of placental rhinos and hippos. Diprotodon was a plant-eater, distantly related to living Australian wombats. It was common throughout Australia until the end of the last Ice Age, about 20,000 years ago. 

Check out this cast in the Museum’s Hall of Primitive Mammals. 

~Learn Latin the Fast and Fun way!~

Lesson 1
Story 1

Artemisia et Maximus 

Artemisia est femina et habet duos filios. 

Artemisia is a woman and (she) has two sons.

Nunc in horto est.

Now she’s in the garden.

 Sedet et cogitat. 
She is sitting and (she) is thinking(/contemplating)

Maximus, suus amicus intrat. Artemisia Maximum spectat. 
(Maximus, her friend enters. Artemisia stares at Maximum).

-Quid agis? (Maximus)

How are you? (/What are you doing?)

-Bene, et tu? (Artemisia)

Well and you?
-Laboro. I am working
-Tibi placent mei flores?

Do you like my flowers?

-Flores sunt pulchri.
Flowers are beautiful.

-Quid agit tuus filius? 

What is your son doing? (/How is your son?)


He is sleeping. 

-Hmmmm… Bene, [ego] pingere volo. 

Hmmmmm… Good, I want to draw/paint.

 -Quid pingere visne?
What do you want to draw?


A lion

-Ooooo, sede! Audio aliquid!

Oooo, sit down! I am hearing something!

-Quid es? What is it?

-Nescio! I don’t know!

A man with a beard approaches Artemisia and Maximus. 

Artemisia: Quis es tu? Who are you?

Stranger: Ego sum novus vicinus.

I am the new neighbour.

Artemisia: (smells the air suspiciously) 

Novus vicinus? Et quid vis hic?

The new neighbour? And what do you want here?

Vicinus: Cur es irata?
Why are you angry?

Artemisia: Hmmm… Non sum irata
inquit femina et spectat virum. 

Hmmmmm… I am not angy… the woman says and she stares at the man. 


Fill in the following gaps in Latin!

Artemisia is a woman (_fe______) and she is sitting at the garden( in hor__).

Maximus is her friend (am_____). The woman loves flowers( fl____).

Her son is sleeping (do_____).

Now fill in the gaps in English.

Artemisia habet duos filios (filios=_____). Filius suus dormit (dormit=_____). 

Maximus pingere (pingere= ______) vult (wants). 

Artemisia ist irata 

irata means

a) angry    b) sleeping

Artemisia flores amat

flores mean:

a) garden    b) flowers

Vir novus vicinus est.

Vir means:

a) man     b) woman

To be continued…

Hope you enjoyed this brief story :) 

There is something that I will one day tell you that will change your whole life. But I cannot say it now. I must wait.

There must be another birth: I am five years old already: aging fast. I am writing words ‘the dog’ and ‘dead girl’ and 'placental grief’ and I am good at spelling. There are whole words that respond to accidents in good faith. There are words born in the mouths of wolves. And imitation.

One day I will clarify the idea of distance as I unpick the rope with the stabbing of scissors. The pillow re-arranged: teeth. The words will become an idea that evokes a dream. And I will sleep for years inside your conscience.

—  diary

Mom’s in control – even before you’re born

Researchers have uncovered previously unappreciated means by which epigenetic information contained in the egg influences the development of the placenta during pregnancy. The research, which was performed in mice, indicates that a mother’s health, even before conception, may influence the health of her fetus, and opens questions on how a mother’s age may influence placental development.

Epigenetic information is not encoded within the DNA sequence but is critical for determining which genes are on or off. One of the ways this is achieved is via DNA methylation, a biological process where the DNA is chemically tagged to silence genes. DNA methylation marks are laid down in each egg during their development in the ovaries and, after fertilisation, some of these marks are passed onto the fetus and placenta.

In exploring the purpose of this maternal information in fetal development, focus so far has been on a small number of genes termed ‘imprinted genes’. However, there are nearly one thousand other genomic regions where methylation in the egg cell is passed onto the early embryo. The researchers set out to explore the importance of this type of methylation on the development of the placenta, a vital organ in pregnancy, and their findings are presented in the latest issue of the journal Developmental Cell.

“We were surprised to find that DNA methylation from the egg played a much larger role in placental development than methylation that was introduced after fertilisation, whereas in the embryo both are important,” explains Miguel Branco, a group leader from Queen Mary University of London who led the work. “Evolution, it seems, has granted mothers the tools to control the growth of their progeny during pregnancy by instructing on placental development.”

Caption: The egg’s epigenetic 'blueprint’ is important for placenta development in pregnancy. Credit; mage adapted from 'Egg sperm’ by Zappys Technology Solutions on Flickr, licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (CC BY 2.0) license.

Gray fox and opossum - October Afternoon, Eastern Tennessee

A gray fox (ground)and a Virginia opossum (tree) are feeding upon ripe persimmons in Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Both animals are omnivores—they eat plants and animals. 

Both species are nimble tree climbers as well, yet have different adaptations for the task. Gray foxes shinny up trunks by gripping with their forelimbs while pushing with their hind paws. Opossums climb with the help of an opposable toe on each hind foot, as well as a prehensile or “grasping” tail.

The gray fox and Virginia opossum may look similar, but they represent two fundamentally distinct groups of mammals.

Foxes are placentals, like humans and most mammals today. Mothers have long pregnancies, nourishing their fetuses through a placenta. Newborns are relatively large and robust, sometimes walking within hours.

Opossums are marsupials, a group that also includes kangaroos and koalas. Pregnancies are so short that newborns are barely more than embryos. The tiny babies crawl to a teat using strong forelimbs and nurse for many weeks to complete development. Like many marsupials, Virginia opossums protect their young with a pouch, or marsupium.

This diorama is located in the Bernard Family Hall of North American Mammals