Researchers find evolutionary reasons for homosexual behavior in beetles

first_img( —A small team of researchers with the University of Ulm’s Institute of Experimental Ecology in Germany has found an evolutionary explanation for same-sex sexual behavior (SSB) in burying beetles. In their paper published in the journal Biology Letters, the team describes how they tested what is known as Reeve’s acceptance threshold theory in male beetles and found that the evolutionary cost of possibly rejecting females was overridden when there were few of them to choose from. More information: Acceptance threshold theory can explain occurrence of homosexual behaviour, Published 28 January 2015. DOI: 10.1098/rsbl.2014.0603AbstractSame-sex sexual behaviour (SSB) has been documented in a wide range of animals, but its evolutionary causes are not well understood. Here, we investigated SSB in the light of Reeve’s acceptance threshold theory. When recognition is not error-proof, the acceptance threshold used by males to recognize potential mating partners should be flexibly adjusted to maximize the fitness pay-off between the costs of erroneously accepting males and the benefits of accepting females. By manipulating male burying beetles’ search time for females and their reproductive potential, we influenced their perceived costs of making an acceptance or rejection error. As predicted, when the costs of rejecting females increased, males exhibited more permissive discrimination decisions and showed high levels of SSB; when the costs of accepting males increased, males were more restrictive and showed low levels of SSB. Our results support the idea that in animal species, in which the recognition cues of females and males overlap to a certain degree, SSB is a consequence of an adaptive discrimination strategy to avoid the costs of making rejection errors. Reeve’s acceptance threshold theory suggests that when gender recognition is prone to errors, the likelihood for greater acceptance goes up when there are fewer members of one gender or the other. Put another way, if a male burying beetle has difficulty determining if another beetle is male or female (which is does because gender identification with such beetles is difficult to determine) and if it is clear that there are few females around, than the males become less discriminating and will attempt to mate with whatever female or male beetle they find—because it increases the likelihood of passing on their genes (with male/female copulation, of course). To find out if the theory holds for burying beetles, which live off the dead carcasses of other creatures, the researchers captured several specimens from a forest in Germany and took them back to their lab. Once there they subjected the beetles to various experiments, where the availability of females for mating with the males was varied. They also varied various resources such as the availability of a dead mouse carcass.In studying the data, the researchers found that as the availability of females was reduced, the male beetles increasingly became more accepting of both male and female beetles, suggesting that as their chances for reproducing became slimmer and slimmer, they became more likely to mate with any beetle they encountered regardless of its gender, leading to increased instances of SSB. In contrast, the trend was very clearly reduced as more and more females were introduced into containers holding males.The researchers suggest that their findings indicate that the theory appears to hold for burying beetles, and also demonstrates an evolutionary advantage for an organism to engage in SSB when circumstances warrant. Burying beetles hatch survival plan to source food, study shows Explore further Nicrophorus germanicus. Credit: Wikipedialast_img read more

Delusions and the midnight sun

first_imgIsaac Delusion took up the torch where Telepopmusik left it. Or so they say.  A year ago, the duo barely existed : it’s an ongoing musical evolution, and the mysterious birds are still exploring. Isaac Delusion crossed the geographical barriers and musical ones and made their debut in the Capital city on Wednesday at Alliance Française.Together since the time of high school bands and music projects Isaac Delusion came in to being when demo tapes were passed on to prospective producers and green signals started flashing. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’The band is apart, it wanders while maintaining its identity – you can feel the ‘label with the elephant’ philosophy floating around. Vague much? We asked where the name Isaac Delusion comes from – ‘We aren’t exactly sure,’ says Jules. The name came out of the music they happened to create and no one questioned why. The due have different musical influences and musical backgrounds, explains Jules when we asked about what inspired them. There is no meeting point in this chaos. But such a treat it is. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixThis record is like switching off the alarm clock just to dream another 5 minutes. Either way, only the shadow of an airy sleep can allow someone to intermix pop, electronic, hip hop loops, folk and a funk bass, all that with an unbearable lightness. Isaac Delusion makes sleepwalking tunes. Made of dreamy ballads, always these vague landscapes, undefinable vastness and also time that is running through our fingers. It’s a happy marriage of genres, it’s all about something spontaneous. It feels like their music washes over you like light and you are left wondering in a half-sleep state. Midnight Sun drew its imagination from travels to Iceland and elsewhere, from experiments. All this has been amplifying lately, a few gigs in New York for CMJ Festival, Berlin, Barcelona and Warsaw, the Pitchfork Festival, Radio Nova, vinyl, encounters. The first release was about sun at midnight and the second is about dawn. And now the India chapter has been kicked off and should do the duo good. They are already working on a full length, because ‘light can’t stop them dreaming awake’. And after Delhi, there will be no looking back.last_img read more

The sarod virtuoso

first_imgHe has done an invaluable service to the history of Indian classical music by writing this book. There are some beautiful and rare images in the book which span 50 years of music in the country.Oxford Bookstore Connaught Place and Roli Books celebrated Khan’s book, My Father, Our Fraternity. The author was in conversation with eminent singer, Shubha Mudgal. The evening was attended by Amjad Ali Khan’s family, friends and admirers.My Father, Our Fraternity is an intensely personal memoir which brings alive the rich classical music tradition from the early twentieth century to the present. Amjad Ali Khan offers an insider’s view of this era, through the life and times of his father, the famous sarod icon, Ustad Haafiz Ali Khan. He also affords us a glimpse into the deeply held traditions of Indian classical music, like the guru-shishya parampara, and the unique ways in which taleem (training) is imparted. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’As Amjad Ali Khan grows from a child prodigy to an accomplished musician, he expresses an acute sense of responsibility towards his guru and his family’s musical legacy, passed on from ancestors who created the sarod. The personal and the professional are intertwined in this book as they are in the author’s life. His friendships, relationships, and the milieu in which he has lived and performed, make for a delightful read for anyone who is interested in the classical music and musicians of India.Talking about the book and event Priya Kapoor, editorial director, Roli Books said,’It is an honour to have published the memoirs of one of India’s greatest living classical musicians. Born into an illustrious musical family, Ustad Amjad Ali Khan has had a ringside view of the history of Indian Classical Music for decades.’last_img read more

Celebrating the spirit of dance

first_imgOn the occasion of the 2015 edition of World Dance Day, connoisseurs of classical dance have an opportunity to savour the manifold dimensions and facets of Indian classical dance. Indian classical dance roots have seen a gradual evolution of evocative mediums, of dance performances over centuries. Geeta Chandran relays this fabulous heritage to audiences with great passion and conviction.Chandran is holding the annual gala celebration of the World Dance Day on April 25 – 26 at India International Centre Auditorium. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Apart from Natya Vriksha’s Young Dancers Festival, this year’s World Dance Day celebrations include a book launch, a film screening, talks and discussion on the subject of dance – touching aspects that have remained integral to the country’s enriched cultural heritage, with a desire to give dance its appropriate place in the cultural milieu of the country.The highlight of this year’s events will be the screening of Vara: The Blessing, an international film in which Geeta Chandran has played the role of a devadasi. Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixDay one of the festival will see the launch of renowned dance critic Leela Venkataraman’s book Indian Classical Dance: The Renaissance and Beyond published by Niyogi Books. It will be followed by Navadarshanam, performance of group choreographies by senior dancers of Natya Vriksha Dance Company and screening of international filmVara, directed by renowned international filmmaker (Rinpoche) Khyentse Norbu from Bhutan, where Geeta Chandran plays the role of a devadasi and her students in the movie. Day two will see Dharohar Bharatanatyam performance by Natya Vriksha Dance Company followed by Rasa in Dance – Inspiration and Imagination – An illustrated talk by Guru Lakshmi Vishwanathan (Chennai).The talk will be based on theory to practice, exploring and drawing inspiration from parallels in Art. Lakshmi will take the Rasikas on a journey of imagined and real beauty. A Kuchipudi performance by T Reddi Lakshmi and Kathak performance by Vishal Krishna of Benares will pull the curtains down.When: April 25 – 26Where: India International Centrelast_img read more

Govt allots Rs 2148 cr as Infrastructure Stop Gap Funding

first_imgKolkata: The Mamata Banerjee government has allotted Rs 2,148 crore as Infrastructure Stop Gap Funding (ISGF) for different projects to check floods in most parts of the state.The state government has allotted the ISGF as the Centre has not been giving the funds required for the projects and at the same time, the Mamata Banerjee government also had to make the move to initiate the projects so that people do not get affected.It may be mentioned that the state government has prepared master plans and taken up a total of 11 major projects to check floods in the state. Out of the 11 projects, the state government is funding six, while one is getting executed with the support of the World Bank. The process of preparing the detailed project reports (DPRs) of two master plans for North Bengal is going on. The state government would also approach the World Bank for its support for the two projects in North Bengal. Two projects, including the Ghatal master plan, need funding by the Centre.A project has been taken up to check flood in Purulia, Bankura and Jhargram districts. Around 57 medium and small irrigation projects will be taken up, for which Rs 300 crore has been allotted under ISGF. Similarly, Rs 670.10 crore has been allotted for the projects to check flood in 12 South Bengal districts.Around 518 km of embankment will be strengthened under the project. In some places, the height of the embankments will also be increased. The state government has also decided to give Rs 1,178 crore under ISGF for similar work of 276 km in different districts.Besides the projects that will be carried out with the money allotted under ISGF, the state government is also funding projects for maintenance of different structures, which are significant for flood management.There are two master plans to check flood in North Bengal. One of the master plans is for Malda,North and South Dinajpur districts, while the other one is for Jalpaiguri, Darjeeling, Cooch Behar and Alipurduar.As per the preliminary estimation, the cost of executing two projects is Rs 1,589 crore and Rs 771 crore respectively. The state government would approach the World Bank for the projects.Interestingly, there is a need of an investment of Rs 1,238.95 crore for the Ghatal master plan. Despite giving the nod to initiate the project, the Centre is yet to allot the funds for the same.last_img read more

Centres NRC nothing but a political game plan Mamata

first_imgKolkata: Coming down heavily on the BJP, Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Tuesday alleged that the publication of the National Register of Citizens (NRC) by the Centre in Assam is nothing but a political game plan.Addressing a press conference at Nabanna on Tuesday evening, Banerjee said: “Whenever elections are around the corner, BJP raises Indo-Pak or Indo-China contexts,” she said. The Chief Minister alleged that of the 40 lakh people whose names have been omitted, 38 lakh are Bengali-speaking Hindus and Muslims. “Out of the 38 lakh people, 25 lakh are Bengali-speaking Hindus and 13 lakh are Bengali-speaking Muslims. The remaining two lakh people are Hindi-speaking people from Bihar, Nepali-speaking people and so on.” Also Read – Rain batters Kolkata, cripples normal lifeThe Chief Minister alleged that the only crime that the omitted ones have committed is that they speak Bengali. “BJP is trying to divide society on the basis of religion, caste and language.” She wondered: “We have people from Bihar, Uttar Pradesh, Punjab and Maharashtra in Bengal and we are not driving them out. Then why should some people, just because they speak a particular language, be punished.” Showing documents to the reporters present there, Banerjee added that many people whose names are not in the registers are voters since 1964 or 1965 or 1971. Also Read – Speeding Jaguar crashes into Mercedes car in Kolkata, 2 pedestrians killed”Even family members of a freedom fighter have been excluded. Are they infiltrators?” she said. “After Partition in 1947, many people from Western Punjab came and got settled in Rajasthan, Gujarat and Punjab respectively. Similarly, many people from East Pakistan came and settled in North Bengal and Assam,” she said, adding: “BJP leaders should read the Nehru-Liaquat Ali agreement and Indira-Mujib agreement to get the real picture of the country.” She maintained that the BJP has insulted those who had sacrificed their lives for the freedom of this country. Banerjee further alleged that in the name of NRC, BJP is trying to create an environment of fear psychosis in Assam. “Those who have tried to protest have been taken to detention camps and even children have not been spared. The media is purchased and they are calling those whose names have been dropped as infiltrators,” she said. Sometimes the BJP is calling them “infiltrators and sometimes refugees and thus, fear is being created in the minds of the Indians whose names have been dropped.” Banerjee stated that in earlier days, people of the older generations did not have birth certificates. “Can Amit Shah, BJP national president, produce the birth certificates of his forefathers,” she asked. Banerjee said: “Fortunately I was born in West Bengal or else they would have stamped me as an infiltrator too.” The Chief Minister reiterated that “Super Emergency” is prevailing in Assam. “Not only our MPs were prevented from meeting those affected, the women MPs were tortured and manhandled. If everything had been in order, then why are the Central Forces kept in Assam which is such a small state,” she questioned.last_img read more

Imbibing rich traditions