Scientists at play

Passed on by Chris Waigl, a piece on the Washington Post‘s blog: “Scientists celebrate the world of animal genitalia with #junkoff” (by Rachel Feltman):

Scentists: They’re just like you! They have good days, they have bad days, they glue themselves to angry crocodiles, and they recognize how utterly ridiculous and funny animal genitalia can be.

#junkoff is the latest hashtag to take off in the scientific corners of Twitter, and it’s exactly what it sounds like.

Scientists who work with animals contribute their favorite images of penises and vaginas. Including the remarkable 4-headed penis of an echidna (aka spiny anteater, an egg-laying mammal).

For the bookish among you, two entertaining volumes on sex among the animals:

Dr Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All Creation: The Definitive Guide to the Evolutionary Biology of Sex is a 2002 popular science book by the British evolutionary biologist Olivia Judson written in the role of her alter ego, agony aunt Dr Tatiana. Dr Tatiana receives letters from various creatures about their sex lives, and responds by explaining the often surreal biology of sex to creatures concerned. Of course this is merely a humorous vehicle with which Judson communicates with the human reader. (Wikipedia link)

[publisher’s blurb on amazon.com] How Animals Have Sex by Gideon Defoe (2005). From Giant Panda porn-watching evenings to the often inaccurate firing of love darts from the common garden snail. From the frenzied mating bundles formed by snakes lucky enough to have two penises, to the unlucky female bean weevil who has to put up with the spiked and barbed protuberance of her mate, this beautifully illustrated and hilariously informative manual will broaden your mind and make you look upon Mother Nature’s achievements with new-found respect. Filled with little-known scientific facts (and fantastic top trumps tables listing copulation frequency and duration, relative penis to body size, interesting anatomical quirks, and remarkable ‘did you know’ anecdotes), written with a delightfully humorous tone and illustrated with 50 colour photographs this is the perfect stocking filler for anyone and everyone who’s ever wondered what went on inside the ark.

The birds and the bees, and much, much more.

(Some people are offended by the #junkoff photos and by the photos in Defoe’s book, especially if they are accessible to children.)

Oh yes, the birds and the bees. Check out my 3/22/06 Language Log posting on Cole Porter’s “Let’s Do It (Let’s Fall in Love)”, especially as endlessly varied by Noël Coward. “Locusts in trees do it, bees do it, / Even highly educated fleas do it”.

One Response to “Scientists at play”

  1. Alon Lischinsky Says:

    Chasing this up on Twitter led me to #StupidCommonNames, which is a massive technicalism-fest.

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