Kinkiness, Thy Name Is Duck

By Carl Zimmer | April 30, 2007 7:40 pm

ruddy%20duck%20phallus.jpg When you find yourself, as I did a few days ago, spending a morning watching the absurdly long phalluses of ducks being coaxed from their nether regions, you can find yourself wondering how your life ended up this way. Fortunately, there is a higher goal to such weirdness. The phalluses of ducks are just the tip of an evolutionary iceberg. The female ducks have their own kinkiness, too. It’s all part of a fierce avian battle of the sexes.

For the latest, see my article in tomorrow’s New York Times. The paper on which it is based appears in the open-access journal PLOS One.

Update 5/1, 11 am: The gossips at Gawker discover the queasy fascination. Welcome to Nature.

MORE ABOUT: Evolution

Comments (5)

  1. invcit

    Why did not the phalluses evolve to spiral the other way (after the female anatomy evolved this strategy as a way to gain more control)?

  2. I read the article on line yesterday. Very nice. Keep up the good work.

  3. It reminds me of one of those tanker planes that can fill up the nearly empty fuel tank of a 747 while in mid-air.

    The real question is, do ducks get penis envy?

  4. VJB

    Wow, the square peg in round hole

  5. sailor

    With the low success rate of raping ducks, it would be surprising if there is enough of a success rate to drive this kind of change – I would think that Ducks that have a willing mate must also be having higher success with the longer penis.


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The Loom

A blog about life, past and future. Written by DISCOVER contributing editor and columnist Carl Zimmer.

About Carl Zimmer

Carl Zimmer writes about science regularly for The New York Times and magazines such as DISCOVER, which also hosts his blog, The LoomHe is the author of 12 books, the most recent of which is Science Ink: Tattoos of the Science Obsessed.


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