11 October 2006

What is a Mammal?

I don't recall how this subject came up yesterday, but I will say that some of our best conversations take place in the car.  I was driving down the road when Lukas asked this question.  My quick definition of a mammal was any animal that makes milk to feed it's babies.  I gave him a few examples including the baby animals we had seen at the zoo and told him they nurse their babies just like I used to nurse Ava (sorry if this is too much info for some of you).  I know there is more to it than that, but since we were in the car, I didn't feel the need to list every characteristic of a mammal.  He seemed to understand this simple definition...at least I thought he understood.

Lukas started successfully naming all kinds of mammals including zebras, dogs, cats, horses, cows, mice, etc...  I thought that we had just completed a nice, spontaneous, successful science lesson until he said...

"So Mom, coconuts are mammals, right?"

"Um, no coconuts aren't mammals.  They come from a plant."

"But mom, they have milk inside that babies can drink."

I meandered my way around that one as quickly as I could so that I didn't reveal the smile on my face or start laughing out loud.   I told this story to Eric, and I think he was laughing more at me than at the story itself, so maybe you just had to be there.  At any rate, I got a good laugh out of this, and I thought it was blog-worthy information.

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