New York's Hottest Club Is Baroque Bird Genitalia


New York Times science columnist Carl Zimmer has penned an important article about why we should care about the sex life of birds. What you should actually care about is how many references there are to bird genitalia in Carl Zimmer’s article.

In case you’re concerned that reading Zimmer’s piece – which should really be filed in the New York Times “After Dark” section – might get you too excited or you know the firewall at your work is a little stringent, here’s the juicy stuff:

  • “bird penises have evolved to spectacular lengths”
  • “corkscrew-shaped penises that can grow as long as their entire body”
  • “baroque genitalia to deliver sperm to female reproductive tracts that are also corkscrew-shaped — but twisted in the opposite direction”
  • “the penis simply vanished”
  • “The mystery of the vanishing bird penis is actually an important question”
  • “To mate, a male bird presses his cloaca against a female’s, so that his sperm can flow into her body”
  • “Scientists have a poetic name for this act: the cloacal kiss”
  • “genital tubercle”
  • “the tubercle continued to grow until it became a full-fledged penis”
  • “tubercle”
  • “cells at the tip of the tubercle”
  • “withered vestiges”
  • “resurrected the bird penis”
  • “bird penises may have started to shrink as a side effect of some other evolutionary change”
  • “stunted the penis”
  • “male birds with smaller penises had more offspring than other birds”
  • “smaller penises were less likely to acquire sexually transmitted diseases”
  • “smaller penises were lighter, and thus made flying easier”
  • “more than one way to lose the penis”
  • “bird genitalia expert”
  • “malformed penises”
  • “assemble penises”
  • “penises that self-destruct”

Additionally, I’d just like to note that when I opened this article, this was the rollover ad:

Each whale makes an appropriate whale noise.

The Sex Life of Birds, and Why It’s Important [NYT]

Image via Sam Greenwood/Getty.

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