Here’s a bitty post, based on a couple of thing I’ve seen on television.
Firstly, I saw this advert for Maynards Sour Patch Kids:
On a more serious note, I caught a brief part of an excellent Horizon programme on BBC2 last night. Presented by Professor Alice Roberts, it asked “What Makes Us Human?” – that is, what makes us different from all other living creatures on the planet. The bit I saw, before squeamishly turning over when she started cutting up a brain, wondered why human pregnancy lasts 9 months. The answer that has always been given is that it’s determined by the following trade-off. Obviously the longer the pregnancy, the wider the baby’s head will be when it comes out, and so the wider a women’s waist must be. But the wider the waist, the less efficient walking would be. This is the Obstetrical dilemma, and the 9 month pregnancy is the best compromise, even if it leaves us with very helpless babies, more helpless than many other animal babies.
But some researchers have questioned this long-accepted reasoning. After extensive research, they found that women’s wider hips don’t actually hamper their walking. So what’s their alternative explanation for the 9 month pregnancy?
They believe it is to do with energy. The baby needs more and more energy as it grows. The mother is able to provide more energy as the pregnancy progresses – up to a point. Eventually the is a limit to how much the mother can provide. The period of time after which the mother can no longer provide the energy the growing baby needs is… about 9 months. Then the baby can be born and can feed directly.