Wednesday, May 02, 2007

Funny and Sad.

John & Belle Have A Blog: Anatramy: "To learn about this peculiar organ [the extraordinarily long phallus found in some species of ducks], Dr. Brennan decided she would have to make careful dissections of male tinamous. In 2005 she traveled to the University of Sheffield to learn the art of bird dissection from [otherwise apparently intelligent] Tim Birkhead, an evolutionary biologist. Dr. Birkhead had her practice on some male ducks from a local farm.

Gazing at the enormous organs, she asked herself a question that apparently no one had asked before [because they were semiliterate morons who weren't aware of sexual dimorphism].

“So what does the female look like?” she said. “Obviously you can’t have something like that without some place to put it in. You need a garage to park the car.”

The lower oviduct (the equivalent of the vagina in birds) is typically a simple tube. But when Dr. Brennan dissected some female ducks, she discovered they had a radically different anatomy. “There were all these weird structures, these pockets and spirals,” she said.

Somehow, generations of biologists had never noticed this anatomy before, [probably because they were afraid they would suffer the fate of Nicholas Schooenhoek, who perished of a severe case of the cooties in 1712, in the first reported case of bird-to-human transmission]. Pondering it, Dr. Brennan came to doubt the conventional explanation for how duck phalluses evolved. [The conventional theory, first expressed in a Nature article from 1954, was that "ducks with, like, huge dicks, totally kick ASS."]

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