From our reporter
Scientists at MIT continue to be intrigued by Bouffe’s dexterity and nimbleness after successfully adjusting to his severe head tilt. Unexplained achievements have been recorded in a controlled environment designed to map the effects of living at a 90 degree angle with 15% of the body while 85% continues to function level with the rest of the world.
Technically speaking, the angle of Bouffe’s head should prevent him from engaging in typically destructive behaviour associated with the fully aligned lagomorph
explains Professor Ko Nijntje of the Lagomorph Developmental Physiology Centre.
Examples of such behaviour include bunstructioneering living arrangements through scratching and pulling, upturning food and water bowls and chewing on interesting objects like strawbales.
Up until now, we were certain that headtilt of the severity that Bouffe experiences would make such activity physically impossible.
Professor Nijntje points out the importance of the findings for the scientific community worldwide.
To add to our bafflement – which is shared by Bouffe’s personal physician, I hasten to add – Bouffe’s playfulness levels also exceed those previously measured.
Bouffe continues to throw his toys out of his cot, as it were, when his food bowl is empty, knowing that this will bring his waiting staff rushing to serve up a tasty treat or a refill.
He has been known to throw his rattle at 5am to wake his staff and demand service. We have measured this typical behaviour several times in the last few weeks.
To the uninitiated, this may sound self-evident. Professor Nijntje explains the significance of Bouffe’s continued naughtiness:
In our lab, we carried out experiments with volunteers, mostly post doc researchers, who had their heads fixed at a 90 degree angle and were invited to carry on as normal. As a precaution, we took their car keys off them and checked our insurance policy, but otherwise left them to get on with their usual activities.
What we found was that their sense of humour was the first thing to go as soon as the novelty wore off, and days wore on. Bouffe outperformed them on each of the identified KPIs measuring adjustment to head tilt.
So, what this really means for mankind is that lagomorphs can teach us a thing or two when it comes to retaining our zest for life under difficult circumstances?
Defying gravity, defying science
Does this mean Bouffe is defying not only gravity, but also science as we have known it up to know?
Professor Nijntje veers up:
I guess that would be a fair summary, yes. In fact, I rather like that conclusion. Mind if I use that one for my upcomingNature article?
Bouffe is fabulous! Does he get also neck rubs? He truly deserves them!
Bouffe has his own physiotherapist and Katrijn occasionally treats him to a visit from her personal mane technician, because she knows he cannot groom himself as well as before.
Keeps him looking handsome as ever!