About the Author

Robyn Morrison

Guest contributor

Robyn grew up in Johannesburg and every family holiday was spent exploring the Lowveld or camping around Southern Africa. Her love of nature and conservation propelled her to complete her Masters degree at the University of Edinburgh’s school of Geoscience. Although this gave ...

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on Ingenious Gestations

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An interesting gestation comparison Robyn. Both have a successful strategy if in balance. Would Impala and lions for that matter not adapt this strategy should they be under pressure. Pressures like excessive predator vs herbivore numbers, poaching etc?

Senior Digital Ranger

An interesting concept of gestational time frames that I had not previously thought about…but it makes so much sense. Nature is amazing in so many ways!!

that was an amazing and informative post Robyn – I learned a few new things today. Nature is always amazing in its design to suit purpose and function – incredible. As intelligent as humans are, we still can’t even come close to what is already occurring in nature.

Thanks, Kylea! I agree with you – the intricacies of nature are far beyond what we can imagine.

An interesting comparison. It all makes perfect sense – none of us is smarter than nature, that’s for sure!

A very interesting blog, Robyn.
Nature is amazing, indeed and takes care of all the different aspects and needs, or rater, develops them.

Thanks Robyn for the information on the gestation periods for the impalas and lions. Nature is indeed very smart. We only need to pay attention to improve our understanding.

Thanks, William. Fortunately, there are a plethora of studies and observations at the moment diving into the phenomena of these animals. These, along with paying attention to their behaviours, will help greatly in improving our understanding!

Hi Robyn, you all have given excellent behavioural lessons! There also are semi-precocial and semi-altricial animals. Birds offer various examples, such as gulls and herons respectively. Gulls chicks are nidiculous can’t feel alone properly and herons chick’s eyes are open immediately birth. Passerines are precocial and ducks are altricial. Lovely pictures as always, who is that gorgeous lion?

Thanks for that information, Francesca! Extremely interesting. That lion is one of the Birmingham males from 2019.

Very interesting comparison Robyn. As you say there is a reason for the different gestation time. Both animals are beautiful and perfect in their own right. Understanding nature is the understatement.

Ingenious, indeed!

Senior Digital Ranger

Interesting insights, Robyn. It’s lack of downtime in pregnancy (lioness) vs. lack of downtime once born (fawn). Is there any advantage to a lioness in having cubs quickly in terms of protecting the cubs from predation by male/other lions? Maybe the lioness needs to have cubs quickly while the mating male lion coalition is still in charge?

Hi Alex, I do agree with you that by having a fast pregnancy and with the lion cubs being born quickly, they will have a longer period of time to be protected by the coalition who sired them. Coalitions change every three years or so, and by the time the cubs are around three years they are able to leave the pride. So by having a short pregnancy it means that the cubs are able to spend as much time growing with the protection of those males as possible. Lion cubs are definitely at a disadvantage if they are much younger when new males take over. The short pregnancy also means that one littler of cubs doesn’t make it, it won’t be long before the females can produce a new litter.

Senior Digital Ranger

That’s another interesting point that 3 years to independence for a cub also = avg 3 years length of a male lion coalition. Another smart touch from Mother Nature!

Fascinating gestation comparisons Robyn. I had not thought about the differences after birth quite this way, and the reason for the importance. I was aware of the need for Impala lambs to be able to stand quickly and be able to move with the herd considering there’s no real protection by the mother or herd in contrast to lion births. Your article made me think of elephants who have a 22 month gestation period, perhaps the length insuring their calves are fully developed and ready to go very quickly after birth.

Hi Denise, the gestation topic for elephants is fascinating as they have the longest pregnancy period of any living mammal. Baby elephants develop slowly in the womb because of their physical size but also because of the size of their intellect. It is thought that the long gestation period allows for the full brain development of elephants. Calves are born with complex cognitive skills and can immediately sense how to survive in their environment and interact with the herd.

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