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eggs, sperm, etc.

Drmarts drmarts at aol.com
Fri Sep 8 13:19:45 EST 1995

n article <v01510102ac74a18f09eb@[]>, mstorrie at vt.edu
(muriel lederman) wrote:

>The bizarre
> thing is that thinking about fertilization in terms of this socially
> constructed paradigm blinded workers in the field - they saw what they
> expected to see by the way they envisioned the process and constructed
> their experiments. 

Here's another, non-sexual example. Do you remember watching nature films
of primates in the wild "grooming" each other (basically, eating vermin
they found on each other)? Remember how the narrator would comment that
the younger monkeys groomed the older monkeys and that this reflected the
social hierarchy of the group of monkeys, that the older monkeys were
higher up in the hierarchy, etc.? 

Well, a few years ago an opthalmologist with an interest in presbyopia did
some research on aging primates. Presbyopia is the inability to focus on
small items close-up. Humans develop presbyopia with age, due to
stiffening of the muscles that cause the eye to accomodate for distance
when focusing. So, this ophthalmologist did some post-mortem testing and
discovered that, yes, non-human primates do get presbyopia. His work has
caused behaviorists to re-think much of their earlier intepretations, as
it now seems likely that young monkeys do the grooming because older
monkeys simply can't see the vermin! Apparently it has nothing to do with
heirarchy or group dynamics or anything like that.

Sherry Marts
American Health Assistance Foundation

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