Wednesday, June 20, 2007


People have a tendency to imagine human characteristics on animals, anthropomorphisms. As I watch Jackson growing, I can't help but notice how many characteristics he has in common with animals. Embryos all look alike, whether its a chicken, a tadpole, or a human, they are very similar with tails, big eyes, and little limb buds. Internally, they're pretty similar, too. The organs have similar origins. Of course, it doesn't take long before the differences are obvious. But I have noticed several behaviors that are much like animals. Jackson grasps at my clothing and holds on with tight little fists--reminiscent of the way apes hold onto their mothers fur. When he's nursing, Jackson puts his hands up on the sides of my breasts like a kitten would to pat the milk and draw it down. These actions certainly aren't as effective for the human babies, but the similarities are there.

I saw an article this week saying that humans are born with brains 25% of the adult size where as most animals are born with brains 80% of the adult size. It was in a la leche league magazine, and their point was that humans should breast feed until the child is 2 or 3 and catches up with the rest of the animal kingdom on brain maturity. No mention was made of the relationship of brain size to body size or the fact that compared to the rest, humans have ENORMOUS brains. Perhaps they should've gone with some ratio of brain size to body mass. Or brain size to milestone, but that's confusing since so many mammals are born walking (one up on us) and blind (one down).
One more note on brain size. Jackson was born with a such a sweet little heart shaped face. Now he has a long oval head. Two reasons--first, he's been growing extra chins, and second, the rapid brain growth and development has stretched his forehead.

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