Nature..and Mythology

August 19, 2010

Indian mythology is replete with the most interesting tales…interesting, that is, in terms of the behaviour of the humans, gods and demons that are the characters in the tales. And a conversation today, with Karthik gave me two parallels between Nature and mythology!

I had posted this picture of the HAMMERHEAD SLUG in my Kerala post: hammerhead slug  150810 and one of the amazing things about this worm is the fact that if it is cut into segments, each segment grows into a new worm! click here for the info about Hammerhead Flatworms, including that amazing fact. There's more here on the Wiki. The Flatworm reminds me of the story of Raktabeeja, a demon, whose unique quality was that each time he was killed, more demons arose from each blood that dropped to the ground. The goddess Durga vanquished him by drinking every drop of his blood before it reached the ground! Karthik also told me about the GASTRIC-BROODING FROG here's what the Wiki says about this frog's reproduction: "What makes these frogs unique among all frog species is their form of parental care. Following external fertilization by the male, the female would take the eggs into her mouth and swallow them. It is not clear whether the eggs were laid on the land or in the water, as it was never observed prior to their extinction. Eggs found in females measured up to 5.1 mm in diameter and had large yolk supplies....At the time the female ingested the fertilized eggs her stomach was no different from that found in any other frog species. In the jelly that surrounded each egg was a substance called prostaglandin E2 (PGE2). This substance had the ability to turn off the production of hydrochloric acid in the stomach. ....During the period that the offspring were present in the stomach the frog would not eat. Information on tadpole development was observed by a group that was regurgitated by the mother and successfully raised in shallow water.... Tadpole development took at least six weeks, during this time the size of the mother’s stomach continued to increase until it largely filled the body cavity. The lungs deflated and breathing relied more upon gas exchange through the skin. Despite the mothers increasing size she still remained active. The birth process was widely spaced and may have occurred over a period of as long as a week. However, if disturbed the female may regurgitate all the young frogs in a single act of propulsive vomiting. The offspring were completely developed when expelled and there was little variation in colour and length of a single clutch." Now, isn't that incredible, too! Of course, they are extinct now...but they remind me of the story of Ilwala and Vatapi.... here's the story

Nature, and mythology…sometimes the parallels are funny…and life sometimes beats fiction in strangeness!

This post is dedicated to Karthik, too…thank you for the knowledge that you always share!