Zoology Major 101

It is still winter but spring is around the bend.  Yesterday, I saw a pelican and a flock of white bellied ducks (?) diving for their lunch into the frigid waters of the Fox River.  And here is a tiny moth on the wooden floor, doomed to skitter upside down across the floor instead of flying, some malfunction in the brain, perhaps?

Do insects have brains?

It doesn’t seem like it, but then again, some insects do some pretty smart things, like those honeybees that return to the hive and dance the direction and distance to the pollen.  How can they do that without a brain?  Maybe it’s more like a bundle of cells behind the eyes? Ganglia?

I should know, I was a zoology major, but I find that I’ve retained almost nothing about specifics except for a few rare exceptions including ants and map projections.  So you would think that I would be able to say with confidence that an ant has a brain, or does not, but I can not say for sure. 

Once a very smart high school boy emphatically challenged my statement that the heart is an organ.  He was so sure of himself and insistent and had been right so many times before, that I began to doubt myself.  Is a heart an organ? 

To convince myself, I told him I was a zoology major. 

That did not matter to him.  He insisted he was right. 

Someone looked it up and I was relieved to hear he wasn’t. 

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