Stories tagged infanticide

May
18
2009

Baby Tucuxi, unaware of impending attack...
Baby Tucuxi, unaware of impending attack...Courtesy Matt Walker

Reading about mutinous mammals is waaaay better than writing the final paper of my undergrad career! Agreed? Yes, well to the point. Now I've heard that dolphins will bite ya if provoked, but that even that is extremely rare.

It is not uncommon for mammals to practice infanticide. It is practiced for a variety of reasons. Males may attack young of their own species so the mother is more receptive to further reproduction from that male. It is also practiced when resources are low and a groups well-being is in danger from lack of food. Both males and females of a species will practice infanticide.

Among their scientific class Cetaceans, a class including dolphins, whales, and porpoises violent behavior including infanticide is very rare and largely undocumented...until now!

Tucuxi Dolphins, native to the Amazon basin were observed practicing infanticide in Brazil by Mariana Nery, of the Southern University of Chile in Valdivia, and Sheila Simao, of the Federal Rural University of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Adult male Tucuxi are known to be aggressive but they rarely exhibit this behavior towards younger individuals. Nery and Simao observed six adult Tucuxi separate a newborn Tucuxi calf from its mother. They proceeded to ram into it, hold it under water, and toss it into the air. When the mother attempted to intervene four of the males herded her away. While the adult males attacked the calf the mother floated on her back. This behavior indicates either passiveness, or more likely a signal that she is receptive to sexual behavior. I believe she did this to distract the adult males from injuring or killing the calf, and to let them know she could reproduce again. To no avail. Sadly, the mother was seen days later without her calf.

Sep
11
2007

Sticky x-ray: This lower body x-ray shows some of the 26 sewing needles floating around in a Chinese woman's body for the past 29 years. She's having surgey today to remove the first batch of needles, which were believed to be put into her by her grandparents shortly after her birth (Photo from Richland International Hospital)
Sticky x-ray: This lower body x-ray shows some of the 26 sewing needles floating around in a Chinese woman's body for the past 29 years. She's having surgey today to remove the first batch of needles, which were believed to be put into her by her grandparents shortly after her birth (Photo from Richland International Hospital)
You would think this would certainly send you to the doctor a few times, living a quarter of a century with 26 sewing needles poking around inside of your body.

A Chinese woman just found out the source of so many of her medical problems. Today, doctors are doing the first surgery to remove six of those little pokers form her body.

Over her 29 years of life, doctors estimate that the pins have poked into Luo Cuifen’s lungs, liver, bladder and kidneys. And they suspect that they were imbedded into her body just days into her life by grandparents who wanted to harm her, well actually kill her.

“That fact that she’s still alive is a medical miracle,” says Qu Rei, a spokesman for Richland International Hospital in Yunnan Province, China.

The presence of the needles was a mystery to Cuifen’s mother, who wept when informed of her daughter’s condition. As an infant, Luo Cuifen cried a lot, but her mother thought she was a temperamental baby.

How can this all happen and how can someone live so long in such a condition? Read on.

Luo Cuifen’s first medical problems arouse as an infant when she had a wound in her lower back. Her mother was startled to pull a sewing needle out of the wound. But for lack of money or medical insurance, the situation was never checked out by a doctor. At age 3, another needle emerged from her body around her ribs.

It’s taken this long for a hospital to step up and volunteer to check her out and perform the necessary operations for free. After today’s operation, she’ll likely have five for six more surgeries to remove the remaining needles.

Surprisingly, since her childhood she’s had a pretty trauma-free medical history. She’s married and the mother of a six-year-old son. Luo Cuifen’s medical situation came to light three years ago when she had blood in her urine.

Now here’s the real scary part. Doctors and family members believe the woman’s grandparents may have put the needles into their granddaughter. They always wanted a grandson and upon hearing a fortune teller say their granddaughter was cursed, they embedded the needles into the baby.

Because China has a one-child policy, it’s not uncommon for families to practice infanticide on baby girls to give parents another chance to have a baby boy. Boy to girl ratios in China are 119 to 100 compared to 107 to 100 in industrialized countries.