Readers talk about ‘ManBearPig’, uncombable hair and extra

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What’s in a reputation?

An historical mammal that some researchers dubbed “ManBearPig” had lengthy pregnancies and gave beginning to extremely developed younger that grew up a lot sooner than anticipated. Such a way of life may assist clarify how some mammals took over the world after dinosaurs’ demise, Maria Temming reported in “‘ManBearPig’ lived quick, died younger” (SN: 10/8/22 & 10/22/22, p. 12).

A number of readers remarked that the creature’s nickname bears a resemblance to that of the ManBearPig character from the animated tv sequence South Park. Was the present the inspiration for the identify?

“Briefly, sure,” says paleontologist Gregory Funston of the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto. Funston puzzled the right way to describe the looks of Pantolambda bathmodon to Temming. “After some deliberation and comparability to bears (they share a brief face), pigs (a rounded torso) and people (five-fingered fingers and toes), I joked that … it was a sort of ManBearPig,” he says.

After all, in actuality, P. bathmodon would have regarded fairly totally different from the South Park character, Funston says.

Within the present, the fictional ManBearPig is a demon — a grotesque chimera of human, bear and pig options. It has beady yellow eyes, a pig’s snout, gnarly bear fangs, one contorted human hand and one bear paw with razor-sharp claws. Its higher physique is half fur, half human pores and skin. And its decrease physique is a weird amalgamation of human thighs and pig toes.

P. bathmodon, alternatively, regarded extra like “a big pink panda or binturong, though it isn’t carefully associated to both of those animals,” Funston says. “The group of mammals that it does belong to [has] no dwelling descendants. And like many different teams of mammals from this time, [P. bathmodon’s group] would have appeared considerably generalized to our eyes, combining acquainted facets of many mammals however with none of the distinct options that we use to separate main mammal teams in the present day.”

Celebrating variations

Organic anthropologist Tina Lasisi, one in all our SN 10: Scientists to Watch, research the evolution of curly hair in people, Aina Abell reported in “Curly hair begins conversations about human variation” (SN: 10/8/22 & 10/22/22, p. 28).

Reader Gillian Ingram discovered Lasisi’s analysis on human variation fascinating.

“As a civilian watching science, I discover the variety inside us superb.… [Lasisi’s work has] opened an excellent sea of potentialities,” Ingram wrote. “It’s good to recollect we’re all very carefully associated, however our variety ought to be explored and celebrated too.”

Within the household

Researchers have linked variants of a hair shaft gene referred to as PADI3 to most circumstances of uncombable hair syndrome, which presents in folks as silvery, spangly, spun glass hair that stands on finish, Meghan Rosen reported in “Why some hair can’t be tamed” (SN: 10/8/22 & 10/22/22, p. 5).

Reader Diane F. Klein shared a household reference to uncombable hair syndrome.

“My first cousin, born about 1960, had whitish hair when she was somewhat lady that stood out from her head like a fluff. It was surprising to see. My aunt couldn’t management it,” Klein wrote. “My brother, born in 1957, additionally most likely had it. His hair was blondish white, and when he was a toddler, it stood out from his head like a wheat discipline, softly wafting within the wind.”

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