Tuesday, May 01, 2007

But Don't Ya'll Just Lay There?

Gazing at the enormous organs (of male ducks), she (Dr. Brennan) asked herself a question that apparently no one had asked before.

“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.


5 comments so far. What are your thoughts?

Matthew said...

This business of the evolution of inaccessible corkscrew vaginae just screams for a SF treatment, don't you think? In the year 3030, the religious right has finally succeeded in destroying all notions of reproductive choice... or have they?

PerpetualBeginner said...

Not to diss the good doctor or anything, but I seem to be recalling a reference to corkscrew vaginas in female ducks somewhere back in the mists of my grandfather's ornithology. Not that anything was concluded by it, but it wasn't completely unknown - just ignored.

David said...

No, the really telling quote in there is "Species with more forced mating tend to have longer phalluses."

David said...

Belle Waring has a pretty funny takedown, not surprisingly.

Kameron Hurley said...

Like perpetual beginner, I do find it really hard to buy that *nobody knew,* but I can absolutely buy the idea that people just shrugged and went "whatever" and never bothered studying the reproductive organs of the female ducks. Cause, yeah, everybody knows the only active partner in any sexual act is the male. You know, the one with the penis.

Sadly, if something like this went "unnoticed" or at the very least "understudied" for so long, I shudder to think about the short (ha) shrift my own internal organs have gotten.

It's the whole "passive vessel" idea perpetuated across species.