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Explaining Antechinus: Stove's Law in Action

Stove's Law.jpg

David Stove in his Darwinian Fairytales calls evolutionary biology a fairytale and gives examples of how evolution "explains" every possible bizarre biological behavior. Wired has an article about the mouse-sized Australian marsupial antechinus where the male dies after mating furiously for two weeks, leaving the female to raise the litter that sees half the pups die.

Such "mass suicide" all makes sense evolutionarily, we are told, because it provides more food for the mother.

"It's all geared toward the young being born when spring starts," said [ecologist Andrew Baker of Australia's Queensland University of Technology], "so there will be a big flush of insects in spring. The female will give birth to the young and then she'll have plenty of food available because the population has been halved, because all the males are dead."

If Stove were alive, I know he would get a kick out of it, especially coming from his native Australia.

Image source: Patrick_K59/Flickr.