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Mothers Milk


Mothers Milk
Photo Information
Copyright: Gerhard Theron (gerhardt) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1936 W: 244 N: 4106] (11620)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2004-08-28
Categories: Mammals
Camera: Minolta Dimage Z1
Exposure: f/3.5, 1/200 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Travelogue: Johannesburg Zoo
Theme(s): Mammals of Southern Africa [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2004-08-31 5:43
Viewed: 5025
Points: 22
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Breastfeeding & Weaning

Breast-feeding in humans is a biological process grounded in our ancestry. It is also an activity modified by social and cultural constraints. The same may be said of the termination of breast-feeding, or weaning. Nonhuman primates and other mammals give us some clues as to what the "natural" age of weaning would be if humans were less bound by cultural norms.

Compared with most other orders, primates have longer life spans and spend more time at each life stage, such as gestation, infant dependency, and puberty. Within the primate order itself, the trend in longevity increases from smaller-bodied, -brained, often solitary prosimians through the larger-bodied, -brained, and usually social apes. Gestation, is 18 weeks in lemurs, 24 weeks in macaques, 33 weeks in chimpanzees, and 38 weeks in humans. Studies of primates offer a number of different means of estimating the natural time for human weaning.

First, large-bodied primates wean their offspring some months after the young have quadrupled their birth weight. In humans, this milestone is passed at 2.5 – 3 years.

Second, primate offspring tend to be weaned when they have attained about one third of their adult weight; humans reach this level at 4-7 years.

Third, primates also wean their offspring at the time the first permanent molars erupt; this occurs at 5.5 to 6 years in humans.

Fourth, in chimpanzees and gorillas, breast-feeding usually lasts about six times the duration of gestation. In a human breast-feeding would continue for 4.5 years.

Taken together, these projections suggest that two and a half years is the natural minimum age of weaning for humans and seven years the maximum. Strangely enough, the high end (six to seven years) closely matches both the completion of human brain growth and the maturation of the child's immune system.

Go figure…

The female shown in the photo is a Sacred Baboon. For more information on the venue please refer to my travelogue.

carper, RAP, AndyB, Callie, japie, PDP, nwoehnl, Lourens has marked this note useful
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To Pamela: Thanx for the wordgerhardt 1 09-16 03:58
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Critiques [Translate]

Prachtige serie Gerhard,
Very beautiful capture, with fantastic colours and a great dof, very good note, well done Gerhard

  • Great 
  • RAP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2524 W: 345 N: 2373] (7405)
  • [2004-08-31 6:41]

Conmovedora escena Gerhard.
Los bebés de monos muchas veces tienen la expresividad de los humanos.
Muy buen encuadre y nitidez con un colorido natural.
Excelente el contenido de tus notas.

Stirring scene Gerhard.
The babies of monkeys often have the expressiveness of the humans.
Very good frame and clearness with a natural colorful one.
Excellent the content of your notes.

Gerhard, Ahh,mother's milk! very nice photo of the intimacy shared between mother & child. Found it an interesting fact that they breast feed for such duration. Sounds like if this were a human that would be one sore tittie!! ;-)

Very good Gerhard.
Nice colours , good composition and good details.
Well done.

  • Great 
  • AndyB Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1366 W: 32 N: 1351] (3982)
  • [2004-08-31 13:03]

A very nice shot.
Great composition and lovely detail,I like the expression of the young one's face.
Excellent note too,very well done.

  • Great 
  • Callie Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1101 W: 95 N: 2610] (7555)
  • [2004-08-31 13:26]

klein Kees moet nou net nie vasbyt nie! A very NICE picture, good contact between mother & child. My only nit, and more as a point out, not a negative, is the POV, but this is restricted by where both of you were. Also, clone out the white spot and the pooh!

  • Great 
  • japie Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1814 W: 100 N: 1904] (5187)
  • [2004-08-31 13:30]

I'm not certain wich is supporting which the best, the picture ore the note - both is excellent and I have learn a lot with this post. Thankyou plenty meneer!

  • Great 
  • PDP Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 2821 W: 344 N: 3779] (11769)
  • [2004-08-31 13:32]

Fascinating note, I enjoyed reading that. The mother looks like she has "been there, see that". Very ice mother and child shot. Excellent work Gerhard.

Wonderful moment between mother and child that you captured, Gerhard. Good definition in the baboon's coats, and good contrast against the background. Fabulous job on the notes, too.

Beautifull shot, Gerhard. You have captured the bond between mother and child beautifully. Excellent note as well.

Qué lindo, preciosa toma. Mucha ternura, quisiera estar allí y acariciar a un pequeño de esos. ¿Lo permitiría su madre?

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