Google Doodle: Mother’s Day

May 10, 2015 • 7:30 am

When I first saw today’s Google Doodle, with the initial animation of a goose nurturing its young, I thought it must be Konrad Lorenz’s birthday.  But then the cheetahs and rabbits appeared, and I knew Lorenz didn’t study those. Then I had my “aha” moment: it’s Mother’s Day.

What I like about the Doodle is its depiction of a connection between maternal behavior in taxonomically diverse species which, to me, means a commonality of natural selection promoting that behavior: kin selection. Behaviors promoting the nuture of relatives also promote the replication of genes fostering those behaviors. So, though I don’t know if Google intended it, there’s an evolutionary lesson.

Here’s the animated Doodle:

My own mother is long gone, but for those of you who still have one, or are mothers yourself, remember that the celebration of Mother’s Day is also a celebration of the power of evolution to mold behavior!

12 thoughts on “Google Doodle: Mother’s Day

  1. I posted on today’s Doodle as well and suspected there was a message about mothering across species, but I don’t have the scientific knowledge to comment. So thank you for your explanation.

    I have been thinking about the Mother’s Days of my youth when the RCC used the day to emphasize the role of women as mothers. I’d like to think I didn’t swallow the propaganda even then, but I suspect I did.

  2. “power of evolution to mold behavior”

    I actually thought this when I saw the doodle as well.

  3. The Try Guys quite accurately nail it for at least one day’s worth of its time. = Part I (yeah, there’s a Part II!)

    “ … … the positives?” the four dudes ask; and the doc answers, of course, “ … … the BABY!”

    Happy Mother’s Day, E V E R Yone.

    ps Scientifically, I have no idea if true or not; but the sentence is lovely.

    It would be splendid IF there is actual evidential and supporting data, particularly as re humans:

    “The evolution of mother love was essential .FOR. the evolution of … … intelligence.”
    .— stated by Cort A Pedersen, MD

  4. “a commonality of natural selection promoting maternal behavior: kin selection” – so, what of the megapodes compared to bald eagles, or sticklebacks compared to cod?

    1. Not really sure what the point you are making is. The fact that some species show little maternal care or that others replace it with paternal care does not mean that natural selection has not moulded maternal behaviours in those species that show them.
      After all, the fact that some birds don’t fly doesn’t change the fact that natural selection moulded the birds into a winged, predominantly flying class of vertebrates.

  5. I’ve never really been comfortable with mother’s day. Besides my love of birdwatching and in some respects, gardening (although also from grandparents) my mom and I have little in common (aside from the obvious genetics) and really haven’t been that close since I was a wee lad. My two kid sisters basically usurped my favored position in the family hierarchy.
    As a single dad, I have gotten mother’s day gifts from time to time, as a bit of a joke and a dig at the egg donor/incubator that I reproduced with.

    Personally, I’d rather spend it this evening around the porch light with the lepidopterans. happy MOTHer’s day. Or you could watch old Godzilla movies. happy MOTHRA’s day.

  6. It seems Mothers Day started out with a big “Mothers for Peace” element. Strange, Wikipedia doesn’t seem to mention it, but a Nat Geo article from a year ago gives this element prominent play.

  7. Thanks Jerry! By the way, do you know your FB account was flagged? I can’t access your page at all, and I had a friend try, just to make sure it wasn’t a problem on my end. I don’t know how you fix that, but I hope you can!

  8. ” a celebration of the power of evolution to mold behavior!”

    …or to stick us with the grunt work, depending on how you look at it. Or how one’s day is going…

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