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Moby Dick: Secrets Of Whale Sex

According to a new study published in the journal Evolution, pelvic bones are good for more than walking. In fact, while they might be unnecessary for swimming, they are very useful when it comes to whale reproduction.

whale

Happy Hump Day!?Image: twitter

Matthew Dean, an assistant professor at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences and co-author of the paper stated: “Everyone’s always assumed that if you gave whales and dolphins a few more million years of evolution, the pelvic bones would disappear. But it appears that’s not the case.”

Jim Dines, manager of the mammals collection at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County and co-author of the study told the Washington Post: “People that really know the reproductive biology of whales and dolphins already know and have known that these pelvic bones are an anchor point for reproductive organs. But it’s not something that they teach you in a marine mammal class.”

As explained in the research, the pelvic bones of whales and dolphins have survived many years of evolution because they serve a very important purpose. The muscles of a male whale’s penis are directly attached to the pelvis. This gives the creature much greater control of his reproductive organs.

whale

Whale sex can be complicated/Image: ScienceHasTheAnswer

Previous research has demonstrated that sexual competition actually enables the evolution of increasingly larger reproductive organs.” Dines and Dean took it a step further by deducing that marine mammals’ pelvises have become larger, easing control of progressively larger penises and testes.

Dean and Dines actually confirmed their theory in two different ways. They measured the size of hundreds of pelvic bones from a number of museum dolphin and whale fossil collections.

Additionally, the deductive duo analyzed recorded data on the size of whales’ testes in comparison to their body size. Upon studying the two sets of data, the researchers proved that the larger the penis, the larger the pelvic bone. They concluded that the pelvis is essential if a male whale wishes to keep “his growing appendage” under control.

Dean concluded: “It’s like someone operating a trick kite, where you pull two strings, and pulling left and right makes it go in a loop-de-loop. That’s basically how a whale’s penis is working.”

About Will Phoenix

W. Scott Phoenix, B.A., B.S. was born in Hawaii, raised in Pennsylvania and resides in California. He has been a published writer since 1978. His work has appeared (under various names) in numerous places in print and online including Examiner.com. He is a single parent of three children and has also worked as an actor, singer and teacher. He has been employed by such publications as the Daily Collegian and the Los Angeles Times.

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