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Elephants Never Forget by James Ritchie Elephants do not have the greatest eyesight in the animal kingdom, but they never forget a face. , for instance, reports that in 1999 resident elephant Jenny became anxious and could hardly be contained when introduced to newcomer Shirley, an Asian elephant. As the animals checked one another out with their trunks, Shirley, too, became animated and the two seemingly old friends had what appeared to be an emotional reunion. "There was this euphoria," sanctuary founder Buckley says.

Such studies don't prove causation, says Carl-Gustaf Bornehag, a public health scientist at Karlstad University in Sweden. Often, people who are allergic to pets—or, because allergies are at least partially hereditary, people who are at risk of becoming allergic because someone in their family is—simply aren't going to own them, he says. This skews study results, making it appear that pets protect against allergies when they actually don't. Although some studies have tried to circumvent this potential bias by stratifying results based on hereditary risk, "until there is a 'randomized distribution of cats trial,'" says Columbia's Perzanowski, "there will always be some chance of confounding by who chooses to own a cat,"—or a dog, for that matter.

In Komodo females, each egg contains either a W or a Z. Parthenogenesis hence leads to embryos that are either WW or ZZ. Eggs that consist of WW material are not viable and die off (just as YY is not a viable combination); in contrast, ZZ does work. So all the Komodo hatchlings have been and will be male (ZZ). Evidently, in the case of these Komodos, the doubling of the egg genes occurred when, in essence, another egg, rather than sperm, did the job of fertilization. Oogenesis, the biological process of making an egg cell, typically also yields a polar body--a mini ovum of sorts, containing a duplicate copy of egg DNA.

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