Naturalists ruin everything - what have you ruined for your friends?

I haven’t, but if people talk about the legend of White Storks bringing newborns to human beings, you can answer that they actually do kill their own chicks sometimes. Not far from the cringiest opposition between facts and legend in my opinion.

Some urchins are pretty much spikeless (e.g. “globe urchin”) and development anomalies certainly do occur (once I was shown a fossil echinoid with a bifurcate i.e. sixth ambulacrum).
But 7-fold? with such a huge gaping a**hole on top? c’m’on.

I’ve seen urchins in aquariums like this many times. That’s all I can tell you.

I’ve had the opposite experience, where I hear so many undergrads trash talk the myriad sins of dolphins (and usually they mean male bottlenose dolphins) that I just roll my eyes and mention some other things about them!


Cougars defininitely can and do purr. They are the largest cat that purrs.

I know from my own experience.

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But Cougars are not considered Big Cats, they are the largest of the Small Cats.

Big cat isn’t really a scientifically defined term though so it’s a tricky basis to argue from.


“Big Cats” is the common name for Pantherinae, and “Small Cats” is the common name for Felinae, both of which are taxonomic groups.

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Just to quibble but it’s a common name that’s used for Pantherinae but is applied to other large cats in varying contexts. The application isn’t consistent enough to be a scientific definition.

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Sep 2022

Sea Otters. If you know, you know.

Well I don’t. What?
so I read the paper that somebody provided. Thanks.

Strikes me there’s a whole lot of coy titillation going on, reflecting the dominant Judaeo-Christian, body-phobic culture that we live in.

Fact is, animals and plants naturally do a whole lot of stuff that would be called out in a court of law if humans did it. (Which in fact they often do.)

And considering that lots of animals mate with non-specific partners, &/or dead ones, &/or forcibly, do we really like nature or should we be on another forum?

There is an analogue in human behaviour. Very frequently cross-specific nurturing behaviour - we keep pets, bond with them, form emotional attachments, call them our ‘fur babies’. Is this not bizzarre?

On Valentine’s Day, it is socially acceptable, nay, encouraged, to shower each other with plant sex organs.


Even more scandalous: plant sex organs decorate the altar at church.