There's an article in a local paper called the New York Times today about sexual depravity and coercion that's so extreme that we are actually having a hard time writing about it. Peter Braunstein? Nah. Ducks. Ducks, man. It begins:
Dr. Brennan was oblivious to bird phalluses until 1999. While working in a Costa Rican forest, she observed a pair of birds called tinamous mating. "They became unattached, and I saw this huge thing hanging off of him," she said. "I could not believe it. It became one of those questions I wrote down: why do these males have this huge phallus?"Why indeed? Well, not to put too fine a point on it, but as Dr. Brennan says, "You need a garage to park the car." Hey, let's hear more about that "car." Why not? It's not like we were ever going to eat again.
It turns out that duck oviducts—'oviduct' is duck for 'vadge'— are long and twisty, with "pockets and spirals." According to Dr. Brennan, these structures have evolved to protect them from being fertilized by rape, which is common among ducks: "In some species of ducks, a female bonds for a season with a male. But she is also harassed by other males that force her to mate. 'It's nasty business. Females are often killed or injured,' Dr. Brennan said." Because only 3 percent of the offspring in her study were the result of forced matings, which make up a third of all matings, Dr. Brennan theorizes that "female ducks can force sperm into one of the pockets and then expel it" as a form of birth control.
Yeah, there's... um, we've got nothing. Fuck a duck.
In Ducks, War of the Sexes Plays Out in the Evolution of Genitalia [NYT]
[PHOTO: Patricia Brennan]