Blog | Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Endo 08: Rats 1, Birds 0

Here are some interesting endocrinology findings from the animal world, courtesy of a session this morning by David Crews, PhD, a professor of zoology and psychology at UT-Austin:

Male starlings that were fed mealworms pumped with endocrine-disrupting compounds had a more elaborate song repertoire once mating season rolled around, which in turn made them more attractive to female starlings. That's all good, right?

Not really, because thes males were also found to be immuno-compromised, which means there's a pretty good chance their offspring would be, as well.

The good news, though, is that rat studies have shown female rats can actually discriminate (I believe by smell, but I'm not sure on this point) between those male rats that are immuno-compromised and those that aren't, and they prefer to mate with the latter.

Er, I mean, I guess that's good news, if you prefer rats to starlings.