The price of the pouch


The price of the pouch: the evolutionary ramifications of mammalian reproductive strategies

A Linnean Lunchtime Lecture

12:30 Wednesday 2nd July 2014


Mammals are characterized by lengthy maternal care, and this has been linked to manifold attributes of this successful and charismatic group that includes our own species. However, living mammals display remarkable diversity in reproduction, from egg-laying monotremes, to pouch-bearing marsupials, to long-gestating placentals. The obvious differences in species numbers, geographic breadth, ecological and anatomical diversity across these three groups begs the question of how much their divergent reproductive strategies are to blame for their success, or lack thereof.

Today, Dr Anjali Goswami (UCL) will present how a broad range of data, from developing embryos to long-extinct fossils, contributes to our understanding of the evolutionary ramifications of mammalian reproductive strategies. We will focus in particular on marsupials and how their strategy of short gestation and long postnatal care may have shaped their evolution, from the diversity of their skeletons to the size of their brains.

Linnean Lunchtime Lectures are free and open to all.

Image © Tom Lind