Wednesday, May 2, 2007

Ducks: hung like a horse

The New York Times' Carl Zimmer crafts a tale of intrigue:
Dr. Brennan was oblivious to bird phalluses until 1999. While working in a Costa Rican forest, she observed a pair of birds called tinamous mating. “They became unattached, and I saw this huge thing hanging off of him,” she said. “I could not believe it. It became one of those questions I wrote down: why do these males have this huge phallus?”
That's a damn good question, and one I have been asking myself ever since that one time I woke up in bed next to the Aflac duck.
When she first visited in January, the phalluses were the size of rice grains. Now many of them are growing rapidly. The champion phallus from this Meller’s duck is a long, spiraling tentacle. Some ducks grow phalluses as long as their entire body. In the fall, the genitalia will disappear, only to reappear next spring.
So ducks are the Sisyphus of the animal kingdom. They work so hard to get a massive ding dong, only to have it whither away again and again.

Also, um, that is very disturbing. I would hate to wake up one day and find my penis smaller than it used to be. Granted, I would probably be unsettled if my penis was 10 feet long and spiralling, but that's at least something I could live with.
Dr. McCracken, who discovered the longest known bird phallus on an Argentine duck in 2001, is struck by the fact that it was a woman who discovered the complexity of female birds. “Maybe it’s the male bias we all have,” he said. “It’s just been out there, waiting to be discovered.”
I'm not sure what that last quote means, but it's really stupid.


Project WANNABE said...

UGH! Does it fall off, or shrivel up, or what? Leave it to a woman to forget to even talk about the most horrifying part of the whole business.

I think I can maybe shed some light on the last quotation. I'm not a duckologist, but if I had discovered something like that I would have just kept quiet and waited for it to go away.

ChrisV82 said...

I guess it would be intimidating to see that a little water fowl has a bigger penis than you. Or it would be frightening, like God has turned his back on us and left us in a world of unholy giant penis monsters.

On the other hand, a woman would be like, "OMG, a penis!"

Gail said...

The males aren't the only ones who are complicated

Project WANNABE said...

LOL. What an arms race.

ChrisV82 said...

At this rate, all we'll see are giant penises and vaginas with little ducks attached.

Finally, my children's book will see the light of day.

Jen!! said...

This freaks me out.

ChrisV82 said...

At least it's not happening to roosters.

Imagine your chicken fingers then.