Tuesday, January 24, 2006

KAKAPO PARROTS - Take two giggles at mealtimes and a snigger before bed, as directed

Goodness me. Lots of Kakapo Parrot news around lately. Here's another one from The Time Online talking about the Kakapo's skewed sex ratio caused by stress.
One accidental by-product of an attempt in New Zealand to conserve the kakapo, a nocturnal flightless parrot, was a skewed sex ratio. Conservationists had been plumping up the birds to keep them fit for breeding, and this calorific comfort resulted, inadvertently, in the birth of twice as many male kakapos as females. When the scientists cut back the food, they report in Biology Letters, the ratio reverted to 50:50. The so-called sex-allocation theory behind this is that generous feeding produces fit mothers who in turn produce fit sons, who proceed to reproduce with abandon. Conversely, unfit mothers may produce sons too weedy to attract a mate. Therefore, in times of hardship, if you want to perpetuate the family line, you’re better off having daughters. You may get fewer grandkids, but at least you’ll get some.