Can They Do That?
Date: Thu, 17 Mar 94 18:38:45 PST
Subject: Can They Do That?
From: Robert and Dondi Adams:
"According to my mom, I'm such a big shot that she's
threatening to have her uterus bronzed."
Steven Spielberg, filmmaker, at a recent tribute to him.
Scientists casting their nets in the dense forest canopies
of Malaysia have discovered the first example of a wild male
mammal that lactates. The species is a Dayak fruit bat, a
large and poorly understood creature with an 18-inch
wingspan, a doglike face and, it turns out, a touch of
When the researchers captured a group of the bats in a
wide-ranging effort to survey animals that inhabit the
Malaysian canopy, they were dumbfounded to see that the
eight adult male Dayaks in the net all had visibly swollen
breasts that produced milk upon being gently squeezed.
"They looked like perfectly good males with large testes,
but from the other end I could see they also had
well-developed breasts," said Charles Francis, a research
associate with the Wildlife Conservation Society who is an
author of a report on the discovery, which appeared recently
in the journal "Nature."
The scientists do not yet know whether the males nurse young
bats or otherwise put the milk to use. The amount of milk
detected in the males, while clearly visible, was only about
a tenth of the amount produced by the lactating female bats
© 1994 Peter Langston