I see lots of science stories, but I just couldn't pass up on this one: "
Some female ducks and geese have evolved complex genitalia to thwart unwelcome mating attempts, according to a new study."
You see, mallards are part of the 3% of birds that have penises (phalluses, dicks, shlongs, etc.) that are capable of penetrating the females love tunnel. But plenty of mallard males don't believe in dating, and do the forced sex thingy (aka rape).
Tim Birkhead at the University of Sheffield in the UK and colleagues examined vaginas and the corresponding phalluses from 16 wildfowl species. They discovered that the longer and more elaborate the male member, the longer and more elaborate its female recipient was."
Some vaginas had spiral channels that would impede sex by twisting in the opposite direction to that of the male phallus. Others had as many as eight cul-de-sac pouches en route, that could prevent fertilisation by capturing unwelcome sperm. Moreover, these features were only found in species renowned for forced sex. All other species had simple male and female genitalia.
“These structures are wonderfully devious, sending sperm down the wrong road or impeding penetration,” says Birkhead.
The mallard penis has evolved longer and longer, and the female has evolved a trickier and trickier vagina. Usually, only when the female is relaxed, does she let the sperm find it's way. In other words, mallard males reading this post should either get to know the female or at least get them drunk first.
I'm just wondering what is the evolutionary advantage of this particular genitalia arms race. I'm not sure if rapist ducks pair off if they are successful with the female. The male does pair off, but only stays until the eggs are laid.
I'm thinking out loud, maybe the female knows what duck will make the best mate or she doesn't want the father to a duck that needs to rape to get laid.
Another interesting finding from Wikipedia:
Mallards also have rates of male-male sexual activity that are unusually high for birds. In some cases, as many as 19% of pairs in a Mallard population are male-male homosexual."
I wonder if the 19% that are gay have evolved a butt hole that is contoured in a way that is perfect for the cork screw penises of the mallard ducks. Of course Fundies will brush off the homosexuality on female rejection.
Some ducks do make a few good points though:
I have a feeling AngloAmerican will be commenting on this post.