I've been reading and hearing a lot about spotted hyenas in the media lately. They caught my attention because, well, hyenas don't usually show up in my newsfeed very often (or at all). However, in the process, I learned a lot about hyenas--and hyena sex. And it's pretty fascinating stuff.Read More
Sexual contact between members of the same sex has been documented in numerous animal species. Several scientific explanations for this phenomenon have been proposed over the years, many of which have argued that the underlying reason may be adaptive. For example, the social glue hypothesis argues that same-sex behavior evolved because it plays a role in the establishment and maintenance of relationships among members of the same sex.
However, a new study published in the journal Behavioral Ecology suggests that animals’ same-sex behavior may not necessarily need to have an adaptive cause. Instead, it may sometimes arise from very specific environmental factors, such as a high population density combined with a heavily skewed sex ratio.Read More
Did you know that the argonaut octopus has a flying, detachable penis? Or that female kangaroos have three vaginas? Or that female hyenas have clitorises so large that people often mistake them for penises? These are just some of the many incredible genital variations found in nature. To learn more, check out the short video below from our friends over at ASAP Thought.Read More
A few years back, I posted an article about the most unusual (and amusing) study of animal sex I have ever read, which concerned the world’s first known case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard duck (click here to read it). To date, it remains the single most popular story on the blog, having been read hundreds of thousands of times. Who needs to learn about human sex when you can be learning about dead duck sex instead, right? In light of the enduring popularity of this article, a short follow-up seemed appropriate.Read More
“The penis is a very effective solution to a very basic biological problem.” – Diane Kelly
There is amazing variation in penises throughout the animal kingdom. Some phalluses have multiple heads (spiny anteaters), others are shaped like a corkscrew (lake ducks), and others are several times the length of the creature’s entire body (barnacles). By contrast, the mammalian "fleshy inflatable cylinder” we’re all used to seems pretty boring, right? As it turns out, however, the anatomy of the human penis is actually quite fascinating.
In this TED video, comparative biologist Diane Kelly shares what she has gleaned from years of penile research. As you’ll see, it turns out that something as seemingly simple and straightforward as the mechanics of an erection is really quite complex. After watching this video, I think you’ll agree with Kelly that anatomy is far from being a “dead” science and there’s still a lot we have to learn about our own bodies.Read More
As discussed in previous blog posts, a number of unusual sexual behaviors have been documented in human beings, from cutting a hole in one’s pants in order to masturbate easily in public to letting insects bite one's genitals during sexual activity. However, humans aren’t the only ones with curious sexual proclivities—unusual behaviors also occur in the animal kingdom with some frequency. In this post, I’d like to share what is perhaps the most interesting scientific study of animal sexuality I have ever come across.Read More