Medicine: Pocket Gophers & Pregnancy

When Kansas State College hired Freddie Hisaw as an assistant professor of zoology and mammalogist in 1919, he "didn't even know what a mammalogist was. It turned out to be a fancy name for rodent exterminator," says Frederick Lee Hisaw, now 64, "and one of the rodents I was to exterminate was the pocket gopher. But I soon became more interested in live pocket gophers than in dead ones."

What made the little critter (Geomys bursarius) so fascinating to Scientist Hisaw was the nature of its pregnancy. To get around in its narrow burrows the animal has to...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!