Wednesday, November 28, 2007

The Aftermath of the Best Conversation Ever

My last post has gotten a few of my readers, and myself, wondering about random things other than the first person to ever dress as a clown. (Though that one still perplexes me. Why would someone do that?) Every time I go sailing, or hiking, or even driving in a remote spot I find myself wondering how the scenery must have looked the first time an explorer sailed up to that spot, or walked up to the ridge to look at the view.

Last week my mother in law and I were at the pool at the Holiday Inn. We were talking about the human body, and we both decided that we have no idea why men have nipples. What purpose does the nipple serve on the male body? We all know what a woman’s nipples are for, but why do men have them? A female dog has nipples to feed her puppies, but a male dog doesn’t? (I just now checked both Griffen and Nemo to confirm that they both do not have them.) This leads me to wonder if someday men will evolve to be able to feed their young. With the norm now being a dual income family, maybe natural selection will force men to be able to nurse if the women are stuck at work.

Heidi, one of the commenters on my last post, wonders where the belly button goes. It starts off on the surface of our skin, then leads inside somewhere. When we were fetuses that was where the umbilical cord traveled from our stomach to our mother so that she could pass nutrients along to us. I am assuming there is still some sort of path from the surface to the stomach that has since been tied off by a doctor. If the doctor didn’t tie that off and create the belly button, would we deflate and blow around the room like a balloon that wasn’t tied off? Heidi’s question about the belly button brings up another question, why don’t puppies and kittens have belly buttons? How did nutrients reach their bellies when they were in utero?

Gypsy, another commenter, wonders who was the first one to eat a crab. That’s a great question, Gypsy. Who was walking around at the shore one day and said “Look at that thing scurrying along sideways! That looks like it would be delicious with some melted butter!” But someone somewhere caught a crab, dismembered it, cooked it and ate it. What always impresses me is the way modern man arrived at food preparation. Centuries of process has formed what we eat today. We don’t have to raise a cow and shoot it so we can eat the beef. We don’t have to stretch a net across a river and snare flying ducks with it so that we can eat.

What constantly impresses me is the way civilizations thousands of years ago ate. I remember when I was in Australia I was on a tour in the desert. The guide was pointing out different plants and pointed out a fruit on a particular tree. He said that the fruit is toxic when eaten right off the tree. But early Australian Aborigines discovered that if they soaked it in a stream of running water for a few days, and then roasted it for the better part of a day in a fire it would become edible. How did they arrive at that ritual? I always imagined a group of Aborigines scratching their heads and saying “OK, Gladys died when we sat that fruit in the stream for 2 days. Let’s try soaking it for 3 and see what happens. Who wants to try it next?”

I also wonder if this is the exchange that goes through Todd’s brain when I cook. “The last time she tried a new recipe it tasted very bad. Do I really want to taste this one too?” Maybe that’s why the pizza place is on speed dial on our phone.

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Blogger Unknown said...

"If the doctor didn’t tie that off and create the belly button, would we deflate and blow around the room like a balloon that wasn’t tied off?"

Exactly!!!!! This is what I'm wondering too :)

November 28, 2007 at 7:20 PM  
Blogger Teacher lady said...

I don't know about the belly button, but I do know about fetal development. The first 6 weeks in utero, the fetus' gender is already chromosomally determined (X,Y or X,X) but the hormones haven't started doing their job to make the fetus one sex or the other. If I'm not mistaken, both fetuses develop nipples during the very early stages of development. I don't know exactly why this happens. Gosh I wish I could just hold my textbook up to the screen and show you what I'm talking about!

November 29, 2007 at 10:23 PM  
Blogger Jansky T said...

I, too, have had the question about eating crab or lobster. The first person to ever do that must have been one hungry MF.

November 30, 2007 at 11:28 AM  
Blogger Jansky T said...

Oh! And speaking of your Aboriginal Australia story...

After Gladys died, Charlie died after drying it in the sun...and Mark died after rubbing it with spider silk. Then Mary died after soaking it in her own urine. And steve died after burying it for a week. But, one day, Bula dropped it in the creek and couldn't reach it. Two days later, it broke free and flowed down to Mary's daughter who ate it...and LIVED!!!!

November 30, 2007 at 11:33 AM  
Blogger BJ Knapp said...

Kevin, that's exactly what I mean. How many different things did the Aborigines try to make that fruit edible?

November 30, 2007 at 1:01 PM  

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