Curiosity Corner

Curiosity Corner

Curiosity Corner


Dr. Jerry D. Wilson,

Emeritus Professor of Physics

Lander University


Question: I’ve heard that in some species, the male gives birth to the offspring rather than the female. Is this true?

Reply: Well, I don’t think it’s true for the birds and the bees. The only instance I know of is in horses — seahorses, that is. These little creatures live among seaweeds along seashores. When swimming, they maintain an upright posture, making it easy to observe their curved tail and their horse-like head. They propel themselves with fins, but they rise and sink by altering the volume of gas in their swim bladders, kind of like submarines.

Now, on to their sex life. In their unique reproductive process, it is the male — rather than the female — who carries the fertilized eggs. However, the female still has a big role in the process. It’s her job to deposit the eggs into the brood pouch beneath the male’s tail, and they remain there until hatching. At that time, the young are expelled through the pouch opening.

I guess you could call the male seahorse the “surrogate mother.”

Here are some more curious tidbits:

  • Other than Spiro Agnew who resigned in 1973, the only other U.S. vice president to do so was John C. Calhoun. No scandal there, though – he resigned in 1832 to become a U.S. senator. (Calhoun also served as vice president under two different presidents: John Quincy Adams and Andrew Jackson.)
  • Chiropractic is derived from two Greek words: cheir, meaning “hand,” and pracktos, meaning “done by.” So, chiropractic literally means “done by hand.” However, some chiropractors use mechanical equipment for adjustments.

While we’re discussing the meanings of different words, linoleum comes from the Latin word linum, meaning “flax,” and oleum, meaning “oil,” and linoleum floor covering was created in 1863 using burlap and linseed oil. (Maybe I date myself, but I still call this new-fangled vinyl floor covering linoleum … do you?)


C.P.S. (Curious Postscript): Age is an issue of mind over matter. If you don’t mind, it doesn’t matter. —Anon

Curious about something? Send your questions to Dr. Jerry D. Wilson, College of Science and Mathematics, Lander University, Greenwood, SC 29649, or email Selected questions will appear in the Curiosity Corner. For Curiosity Corner background, go to 
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