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Important Biology News: Ducklings Imprint On A Corgi

By 06.10.11

This just broke my dawww bone.

The two ducklings above are named Biggie and Pac (get those ducks a see saw!) and they regard Yogi the Corgi as their mother. How can this be? The biological process of imprinting:

First suggested by 19th century amateur biologist Douglas Spalding, imprinting was made famous by zoologist Konrad Lorenz through his studies with geese. This type of imprinting, where an animal establishes a parental relationship is called filial imprinting. Lorenz’s experiments showed that geese hatched in an incubator would imprint on the first “suitable” thing they saw, during a time he called the critical period (between 13-16 hours after hatching.) [Geekosystem]

So how did the ducklings imprint on Yogi the Corgi and choose him as their new mom? Frances Marsh and family bought a couple two-day-old ducklings to bring home to Atlantic Beach, North Carolina. On the car ride home, Yogi popped his head over the side of the duckling’s box and licked them. Ever had your cheek licked by a Corgi? You’d imprint, too.

Marsh says Yogi often sleeps next to the duckling’s box, herds them with his snout, and once barked to get Marsh’s attention when one of the ducks was stuck on its back. This Corgi would totally save Timmy if he fell in a well, even though Timmy didn’t even deserve it after the second or third time that happened.

The ducks are now two months old with white feathers.  They still regard Yogi as their mother, but that may change as they get older and their hormones ramp up. Let’s all just enjoy this cuteness as long as it may last.  There are a couple more pics of this adorable ersatz family below, and if you need more breaking Corgi news, check out Matt’s Corgi Friday post later today. And if you think you don’t need more Corgi news, f–k you. I don’t want to live in a world where that’s possible.

[Pictures courtesy of Discovery via Geekosystem]


TAGSCORGISCuteDogsDOUGLAS SPALDINGDUCKSFRANCES MARSHKONRAD LORENZNORTH CAROLINAscience

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