Nature gives animals all kinds of storage compartments

From the seahorse male’s brood pouch to the chipmunk’s cheeks, storage spaces help animals function: birthing, toting baby, carrying tools, gathering food.

English biological anthropologist Alice Roberts had so often ridiculed the human form’s shortcomings that in 2018 a colleague gave her this challenge: Redesign the body by improving upon its parts. Finding inspiration in nonhuman species, Roberts speculated that we might be better off with some of their features, including the marsupial’s pouch. 

No human mother will be pocketing her little Joey like a joey anytime soon, but many animals—and not just marsupials—have vital uses for their built-in storage containers. Here are five. 

He does the hard labor: In seahorse couples, the female deposits her eggs into the male, which holds them in a frontal compartment called a brood pouch. After 14 to 28 days, he delivers up to 1,500 fry in a water birth.

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