HOW DO ANIMALS KNOW WHO THEIR PARENTS ARE AFTER THEY ARE BORN
I am not a very qualified expert in this area, but it must have smething to do with the touch and care given to the newborn by the mother. I doubt if the baby knows who their father is! I am sure the sense of smell is intimately involved. I vividly remember a happening when I was a child of seven years living in Quetta. We had a cow on whose milk we were dependent for nourishment. The cow was pregnant and we were eagerly awaiting the birth of its calf. Unfortunately the calf died during birth.
The cow was sad and refused to be milked. After a couple of days the milkman brought back the skin of its calf wrapped around a bundle of straw and placed it before the cow at the time of milking. The cow eagerly started licking the bundle and the milking proceeded smoothly. From then on that bundle was to be kept before cow for milking.
The smell of the skin was immediately recognized as that of its offspring. I am sure the sense of smell also helps the baby recognize the mother.
Incidentally, cheating the poor cow like that was a sad thing to do, and her grief stayed with me for a long time. We are now in an industrial age, where vacuum milking machines just suck the milk out. Sad and cruel.
-DR. NAVRAJ SINGH SANDHU, firstname.lastname@example.org