Which Animals Don’t Have Tails? (I Had To Google It)

January 19, 2014 at 9:10 pm , by 

3 years, 2 months.

Disclaimer/incentive to read this: May contain unintentional potty humor of a 3 year-old.

Dear Jack,

On the way to school Friday morning, you broke about 5 minutes worth of silence to announce:

“Tigers have tails, so they don’t poop. And pandas, too. They have tails but they don’t really like to poop. But pandas are not bears.”

I should point out here that you weren’t trying to be funny… you were completely serious, not smiling at all. Your tone was very informative.

As I listened to you teach me about the bathroom preferences of animals, I began (privately) processing your logic.

I began thinking about how if pandas specifically don’t like to poop, does that mean other animals enjoy it?

Also, I tried to make a connection between having a tail and not pooping. Why would having a tail affect that?

I began wondering about the alternative- where would the food go that animals eat?

Does the tail serve as a bit of a trap door to keep it all in?

This thought process occurred during an intensive 8 second period, before I decided to ask you a follow-up question:

What about fish?

“Fish have tails in the water, so they don’t poop,” you quickly answered.

For the first couple of hours of the day after I dropped you off at school, I was trying to think of animals that don’t have tails. No luck.

Finally, I Googled “animals that don’t have tails,” to find out the few exceptions to the rule.

Here’s the list of animals I found, according to the Internet, that don’t have tails:

Frogs (though they do when they are young), gorillas, apes, chimpanzees, orangutans, octopuses, clams, and starfish. Plus, certain spiders and insects; depending on a person’s definition of “animal.”

So if you rule out marine life, too, it’s pretty much certain primates that don’t have tails. I never realized so few animals, mammals in particular, have no tail.

Basically, your logic says that because humans don’t have tails, that’s why they poop.

In my 32 years on this planet, I’ve never thought how few animals have tails. I must thank you, Son, for bringing this to my attention.

Of course, you’re using the “tail concept” to say that’s why most animals don’t poop.

If only you had a tail, potty training would be a lot easier… according to your logic, at least!

 

 

Love, Daddy

 

Note: This is an opinion piece of the author (and his son) and does not reflect the scientific community. For example, panda bears really are bears; it’s red pandas that are not.

 

Photo Sources- Shutterstock.com:

Young Sumatran Tiger Walking.

Giant Panda Bear In Tree.

Old Silverback Chimpanzee.

(Memes created by Nick Shell.)

Dr. Kermit Gosnell’s “Abortions” of Live Babies

New Infographic: What’s Going On Inside Your Child’s Brain?

I’ve mentioned before that with a kid, there is no pause button. Especially with having a 3 and a half year-old son, his mind (and body) have to be constantly be moving.

Sure, that’s just how little boys are.

But I think it’s important to consider this from a scientific perspective. This new infographic, “What’s Going On Inside Your Child’s Brain?” does a great job of helping me understand.

The short version of it is that children are constantly learning and maturing…. at a faster rate than us adults. According to the infographic, we stop maturing by age 25, for the most part.

Contrast that with a child, who seems to need constant attention as compared to an adult, and it makes a lot of sense.

Check it out…

 

Your Child's Brain

What’s Going On Inside Your Child’s Brain?

 

Children vs Adult Brains:
A child’s brain has completely different priorities than an adults.
Children think, behave, and learn differently –
Meaning parenting and teaching can be a challenge

Below we see how different sections of the brain trigger behaviors in children and adults.

Most active areas in children:

1. Brain stem
The brain stem is the part of a child’s brain that controls heart rate, blood pressure and body temperature.
2. Midbrain
The midbrain stimulates “arousal,” appetite/ satiety and sleep.

Most active areas in adults:

1. Limbic system
The limbic system controls sexual behavior, emotional reactivity and motor regulation.
2. Cortex
The cortex is responsible for concrete thought, affiliation and attachment.

 

The Brain Basics

 

1. Neurons:

    • Building blocks of the brain

 

    • Nerve cells that specialize to form brain sections

 

  • Communicate messages throughout the brain

 

 

2. Synapse:

    • A connection between 2 neurons

 

    • Each Neuron has thousands of synapses

 

  • Creates connections between thousands of neurons.

 

 

3. Myelin:

    • An insulating sheath that covers the length of mature neurons

 

    • Necessary for clear, efficient, electrical transmission

 

  • Increasing connection effectiveness by 3000x

 

 

Synapse Time Line

 

Brain development throughout stages of life:

 

[Newborns]

    • Developing automatic functions, the 5 senses, and motion

 

    • Brain is 25% of its future adult weight

 

  • Implicit (or unconscious) memory allows recognition of mother and family

 

 

[Toddlers]

    • Brain develops up to 2,000,000 synapses per second

 

  • Building the architecture for future functioning

 

 

[by Age 3]

    • Brain already weighs nearly 90% of it’s future adult weight

 

    • Explicit (conscious memory) develops

 

  • Future capacities for learning, social interaction, and emotional abilities are already largely established

 

 

[4 through 10 ]

    • Children’s brains are more than twice as active as adult’s brains.

 

  • Of the body’s total O2 intake, the adult brain consumes 20%A child’s brain consumes up to 50%

 

 

[by Age 8]

     “Logic” abilities start to form

 

 

[Age 11 into adulthood]

    • “Use it or Lose it”

 

  • Pruning: deleting lesser-used synapse connections making other pathways more efficient

 

 

[Age 14]

    • Myelination begins in the Frontal Lobe (higher learning)

 

  • Reasoning, planning, emotions, and problem-solving skills significantly develop

 

[Age 16] Drive a car

[Age 18] Vote

[Age 21] Drink Alcohol

 

[Age 23]

       Pruning completes

 

  • Nearly half of the child’s synapses have been deleted

 

 

[Age 25]

       Myelination completes

 

  • The brain is finally fully matured
    Insurance rates drop – Not a coincidence

 

 

[Beyond:] 

      Brain Composition

 

  • Continually changes as learning occurs throughout lifespan

 

No matter what your age, when it comes to brain functions, it’s literally “use ‘em or lose ‘em”

thumb-inside-your-childs-brain

Sources:
http://developingchild.harvard.edu/resources/briefs/inbrief_series/inbrief_the_science_of_ecd
http://www.cyf.govt.nz/documents/info-for-caregivers/fds-cd-stages-of-brain-dec11-hu.pdf
http://hrweb.mit.edu/worklife/youngadult/brain.html
https://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/issue_briefs/brain_development/how.cfm
http://www.academia.edu/6089683/REFLECTION_ON_LEARNING_AND_THE_STAGES_OF_DEVELOPMENT
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jXnyM0ZuKNU
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK28194

Source: Early-Childhood-Education-Degrees.com

 

Major Nerds and Super Geeks: We Become Specialists in What We are Naturally Good At and Love to Do Anyway

In order to be cool these days, you have to embrace your inner dork.

By a college student’s junior year at a large university, there is no denying what he or she is majoring in.  Because by that point, there are certain undeniable quirks which have been weaved into the way they speak, how they spend their free time, or most importantly, who their friends are.  So when I chose the term “Major Nerds” as part of the title for this, it’s a play on words with a dual meaning like the classic TV show “Family Matters”.  It seemed to me that while in I was in college, a student became a nerd or a geek for whatever their college major was.

For me, the easiest ones to spot were the drama majors.  When a drama major walked into a room, they basically sang everything they said.  Their private conversations were never private; instead, everyone else in the room was an audience member for their traveling play production.  Of course they were also some of the most sincere and friendliest I knew in college.  Or were they just acting?  I guess I’ll never know.

I earned my degree from Liberty University, the largest Christian university in the world.  So it’s no surprise that in addition to every typical degree you could think of, they had a few peculiar options as well.  In particular, I’m thinking about the Worship majors.  These were the students planning a career in leading worship music at large churches… I guess.  Because every time you saw them, they were carrying a guitar playing “Shout to the Lord”, somewhat successfully drawing in a crowd of people singing along.

And if they weren’t doing that, they were inviting people to their “Night of Praise”: As part of their graduation requirements, the Worship majors had to entice an audience to come to a worship service in which the Worship major ran the thing.  For me, it was the most random thing someone could major in at our college.  I just couldn’t understand why a person would be willing to limit or brand themselves with such a specific degree.

What if after a few years of leading worship at a church, they decide they’d rather work in a bank?  And during the job interview, the employer says to them, “So, I see you have a college degree in… worship?”  And too, it’s just a weird concept to me that a person has to learn to worship God or lead others in worshipping God.  It makes sense, but also, like I told my friend James Campbell, whom I recently lost contact with because he evidently “quit” facebook: “Is that really something that you have to be taught?  Isn’t that comparable to having to take a class on ‘how to make love’?”

Then again, I’m not the one who feels I was called by God to work in the ministry.  So of course I can’t relate.  As for me, as if it wasn’t blatantly obvious, I was an English major.  To caricature us, I would say we were a strange hybrid: Decently liberal and very artistic on the inside, yet pretty conservative and sophisticated on the outside.  In other words, baby Literature professors in training.

Our heads were in the clouds, yet our feet were on the ground.  We were trained to dissect and diagram every situation into literary components; we were the Grammar Police to our dorm mates (see I am the Human Spell Check).  We were the only students who actually enjoyed writing papers.  In fact, I didn’t start out as an English major- I became one my junior year when I realized that if I enjoyed writing term papers, and all my friends came to me to proofread theirs, that maybe I should stop looking at some big dream of a career and just to what came easy to begin with.

And though those last two paragraphs about English majors were written in past tense, I can’t say that any of those characteristics about me have changed, simply because I graduated.  In fact, they’ve only increased in intensity.  In my office, I’m still the guy people come to when they need a letter written or an important e-mail proofread.  Obviously, I still enjoy writing- you know, hence the website and everything.

And really, that’s the way it works.  Most people end up majoring in whatever comes most natural for them anyway, for however they are wired.  Is it true that Finance and Accounting majors love working with numbers?  Sure, but it also comes easier for them then it would for me.  We all still like being challenged in our particular field.  When we can succeed in the difficult tasks of our specialty, it furthers us in becoming a locally recognized expert, equipped with knowledge and experience that impresses and possibly intimidates those who in different fields than we are.

I can tell you why the “k” in knife is silent and I can spell any word correctly without thinking about it, but I can’t do numbers.  I can’t do science.  Nor am I a computer whiz.  There are so many things I’m not good at and that I know little to nothing about.  But when it comes to the English language, literature, creative writing, and any kind of written communication in general, I’m your guy.  In other words, I was an English major nerd.  And always will be.

I use the word “nerd”, but I could say “expert”, or “go-to-guy”, or “whiz”, or even “buff”.  It’s all the same.  We all like to be good at something.  And when we can, we like to THE person for our niche.  Which often means we all have a bit of quirkiness attached to us.  Everyone’s at least a little weird.   Even the people we think who are the most normal.

I am the Human Spell Check

Bring me your misspelled words and incomplete sentences.

In school, I never studied for spelling tests (at least I never needed to) and I always got a “104” (perfect score plus I got the “challenge words” right as well).  The English language, as random and pieced-together as it is, has always made sense to me.  I wasn’t too bothered with the fact that the word “know” has a silent “k” (originally it was pronounced).  Nor was I ever really annoyed with the “I before E except after C” rule.

Somehow I’ve made sense out of the consistent inconsistency of our junkyard Spumoni language, borrowed mainly from our European ancestors- and also surprisingly from Yiddish, the universal language of the Jews, being that there are almost exactly the same number of Jews living in America as there are in Israel; accordingly, the United States has the 2nd highest Jewish population in the world.  Examples of adopted Yiddish words – bagel, klutz, schlub, schmooze, schmuck, shtick, schnozzle, tush, schlong.

And I’m convinced that my love of words has a lot to do with why I don’t really have a Southern accent, despite only living in the South (AL, FL, VA, TN).  Because I know how words are supposed to sound.  It’s not “ahss”, it’s “ice”.  It’s not “Toeyohduh”, it’s “Toyota”.  To speak in any distinct accent would be to stray from the standard American way of speaking.  I’m overaware of the way I pronounce words- only in rare occasions does a hint of Alabama come out of me.

I am the person in any given room who people ask, “How do you spell ‘initiate’”?  Then immediately, the word pops up in a translucent white font outlined in black, in my head.  I am that guy.  That can always save the day in times of a spelling crisis.  In college, I was the guy that all my dorm mates would bring their papers to for me to correct them the night before they were due.  And not only was it fun for me, but I took pride it doing it.

The downside of being a human spell check: I’m horrible at math and science.

The irony of writing about being a human spell check: I misspelled the word “spell check” in the title for this post by combining two words as one.  The real spell check caught it for me.

For a similar post by a similar but different writer, read http://stuffwhitepeoplelike.com/2008/05/12/99-grammar/.