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The duck's penis
December 23, 2009 12:42 PM   Subscribe

Carl Zimmer on the duck's incredibly long, corkscrew-shaped, ballistic penis.
My tale is rich with deep scientific significance, resplendent with surprising insights into how evolution works, far beyond the banalities of “survival of the fittest,” off in a realm of life where sexual selection and sexual conflict work like a pair sculptors drunk on absinthe, transforming biology into forms unimaginable. But this story is also accompanied with video. High-definition, slow-motion duck sex video. And I would imagine that the sight of spiral-shaped penises inflating in less than a third of second might be considered in some quarters to be not exactly safe for work. It’s certainly not appropriate for ducklings.
[As Carl says, video links are possibly NSFW.]

Ed Yong has another good write-up of the same subject at Not Exactly Rocket Science.
posted by chorltonmeateater (59 comments total) 12 users marked this as a favorite

 
Never in my life have I been more reluctant to click the More Inside link.
posted by Pragmatica at 12:46 PM on December 23, 2009


Why do I have the urge to watch 16 Candles?
posted by Astro Zombie at 12:46 PM on December 23, 2009 [10 favorites]


This explains so much about Donald's outbursts.
posted by benzenedream at 12:46 PM on December 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Now that's how a duck gets down!!
posted by Greg_Ace at 12:51 PM on December 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


....Wow.
posted by Lobster Garden at 12:55 PM on December 23, 2009


I don't know what I thought bird genitalia looked like, but this is a surprise.
posted by ryaninoakland at 12:57 PM on December 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


I am by no means an expert on duck penii, but I am pretty sure it couldn't actually be ballistic.
posted by Cold Lurkey at 12:58 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I feel like that duck's dong has penetrated my mind. I feel dizzy and lost.
posted by autoclavicle at 12:58 PM on December 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


I am pretty sure it couldn't actually be ballistic.

True, but I struggled to think of a better word for that.
posted by chorltonmeateater at 1:00 PM on December 23, 2009


Dude....

That's about the coolest thing I've ever seen.
posted by Drainage! at 1:01 PM on December 23, 2009


This is what my life has become?
posted by cmoj at 1:01 PM on December 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Duck sauce?
posted by swift at 1:06 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


How much dick would a duck dick duck and dick if a duck dick could dick dick and duck dick?
posted by idiopath at 1:07 PM on December 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


I don't know what I thought bird genitalia looked like, but this is a surprise.

Same here. Consider my Daffy Duck toys on notice
posted by Think_Long at 1:07 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Brennan speculated that all this bizarre anatomy is the result of a peculiar form of evolution known as sexual conflict... Female ducks pair off with male partners for the breeding season, but they also get harrassed by other males, sometimes being forced to have sex (and sometimes dying from the attacks). A third of all duck matings are forced...And yet only 3 percent of the ducklings that female ducks produce come from such forced matings. Brennan speculated that the female ducks can block forced copulations with their mismatched spirals. And they might also be controlling which drake got to fertilize their eggs by socking away the sperm of different mates in different pockets. And the extravagant penises of males might be the result of an evolution around those defenses.

Nature is fucked up.
posted by anti social order at 1:07 PM on December 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


Obligatory YouTube audio comedy link. (NSFW, Tasteless, I'm going to hell for posting this, aren't I?)
posted by zarq at 1:09 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I'm kind of curious about how Brennan um, got the duck's wiener to come out. How do you jack off a duck?
posted by autoclavicle at 1:11 PM on December 23, 2009


How do you jack off a duck?

Practice, practice, practice.
posted by swift at 1:14 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


How do you jack off a duck?

$5, same as in -- oh shit, doesn't work here.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:16 PM on December 23, 2009


autoclavicle: "I'm kind of curious about how Brennan um, got the duck's wiener to come out. How do you jack off a duck?"


The article mentioned that putting a girl duck in its cage was sufficient to get things started.
posted by idiopath at 1:16 PM on December 23, 2009


I am pretty sure it couldn't actually be ballistic.

True, but I struggled to think of a better word for that.


From the article: "Unable to film duck penises in a real female oviduct, she built a fake oviduct out of silcone. She then managed to get a drake to mate with it. But the overwhelming force of the explosive penus (sic) broke the fake oviduct."

I think I'm willing to accept the term ballistic in this case.
posted by Kabanos at 1:19 PM on December 23, 2009


Forged by the dark lord himself.
posted by seanmpuckett at 1:22 PM on December 23, 2009


I am by no means an expert on duck peniipenes, but I am pretty sure it couldn't actually be ballistic.

FTFY.
posted by Cogito at 1:35 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Female ducks pair off with male partners for the breeding season, but they also get harrassed by other males, sometimes being forced to have sex (and sometimes dying from the attacks).

Man, fuck Jehovah and his beautiful, rapist creation.
posted by Avenger at 1:36 PM on December 23, 2009


Hey, at least it's not barbed like kitty penis.
posted by uraniumwilly at 1:41 PM on December 23, 2009


This casts an entirely new and unsavory light on the Duck Family Tree.
posted by JHarris at 1:42 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


There's a whole Wikipedia entry on, essentially, animal rape. I guess I shouldn't be surprised that in nature -- which is, after all, red in tooth and claw and where life is nasty, brutish, and short -- some species' sexual behavior is violent and coercive, but it doesn't make it any more palatable.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:44 PM on December 23, 2009


I'm kind of curious about how Brennan um, got the duck's wiener to come out.

I doubt it was all that difficult. I've said it once and I'll say it again, ducks are fucked up.
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 1:46 PM on December 23, 2009


You have to question your choices in life when you are forcing a duck's dong into a tube.
posted by cjorgensen at 2:04 PM on December 23, 2009 [6 favorites]


I'm never complaining about my job again.
posted by malocchio at 2:15 PM on December 23, 2009 [5 favorites]


The article mentioned that putting a girl duck in its cage was sufficient to get things started.
So, basically it's like junior high.
posted by verb at 2:21 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


What's that exclamation of surprise? The one with "duck" in it? Yes, that is what I would like to say at this point in time.
posted by zippy at 2:31 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


TrishaLynn and I are both reading this article at the same time and have decided that "Ballistic Duck Penis" would be a great punk band name. Also the vocal exclamation of "GOOD GOD" and "HOLY $%" are scaring the cat.
posted by FritoKAL at 2:36 PM on December 23, 2009 [3 favorites]


WTF, nature?
posted by five fresh fish at 2:49 PM on December 23, 2009


For the love of God, Donald, put on some pants.
posted by maudlin at 3:01 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


For anyone interested in sex, evolution, and the evolution of sex, I really recommend the book Dr. Tatiana's Sex Advice To All Creation.

A friend gave it to me, and at first I was put off by the "Creatures writing letters to the sex advice columnist" gimmick, but when I actually sat down to read it I could not stop until... damn, "until I finished" just does not work in this context... until I turned the last page.

It is full of information, one of those books were you learn a lot without noticing it. Kind of a mind rape than inseminates you with a seed of knowledge that gestates into a new outlook on life and evolution and new insights into your own sexuality.

The chapter on duck penises and rape is one of the tamest. This is part of one of the "Questions" that head each chapter "This morning I was, as usual, Making love with one of my sisters when my mother's belly burst. All my sisters wandered off leaving me alone inside mom's corpse. Is this punishment for messing with my sisters? What will happen to me now?"

The asker is a mite of the Acarophenax mahunkai species.
posted by dirty lies at 3:21 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I know I have only myself to blame for clicking those links but OH MY GOD WHY YOU DO THIS NATURE.

My enjoyment of curly fries has been forever tainted.
posted by elizardbits at 3:25 PM on December 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


Hmmm. This does explain why, when our drake was enthusiastically and repeatedly raping the chicken, our hens stopped laying. The drake found a new home about three hours before I could turn him into prosciutto and confit.
posted by stet at 4:00 PM on December 23, 2009


A moment ago, I was thinking about opening a bottle of Cabernet. I can't bring myself to do it anymore.
posted by ThusSpakeZarathustra at 4:25 PM on December 23, 2009


Metafilter: My enjoyment of curly fries has been forever tainted.
posted by hippybear at 4:47 PM on December 23, 2009 [4 favorites]


Naturally, my mind lept to the topic of scientific research on homosexual necrophiliac duck rape.
posted by ErikaB at 5:05 PM on December 23, 2009


A moment ago, I was thinking about opening a bottle of Cabernet. I can't bring myself to do it anymore.

So I'm not the only one craving Baby Duck?
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 5:23 PM on December 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


It's all about [more inside], amirite?
posted by unSane at 5:27 PM on December 23, 2009


The article mentioned that putting a girl duck in its cage was sufficient to get things started.

So, basically it's like junior high.


Girls in cages and boys getting aroused? Perhaps you have confused junior high with a strip club.
posted by filthy light thief at 6:23 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


I misread that as "pens"
posted by niccolo at 6:28 PM on December 23, 2009


As a small child, I saw a cute duck rape another cute duck in the park. It seared my small child mind.
posted by angrycat at 6:58 PM on December 23, 2009


My enjoyment of curly taint has been forever fried.
posted by kcds at 7:43 PM on December 23, 2009


Hmmm. This does explain why, when our drake was enthusiastically and repeatedly raping the chicken, our hens stopped laying. The drake found a new home about three hours before I could turn him into prosciutto and confit.

I'm not comfortable "favoriting" this, but um... acknowledged?
posted by cmoj at 7:51 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Without Mike Rowe cheerily telling me what the hell is going on with that duck dick, I feel like I'm just watching some Nine Inch Nails outtake.
posted by fairytale of los angeles at 8:04 PM on December 23, 2009 [1 favorite]


Man I though ferrets were sexual freaks. Ducks are going to be my new goto.

"Hey, at least it's not barbed like kitty penis."

Ferrets also have a hooked penis and like many mammals theirs has an actual bone in it (called a baculum). And abstinence isn't an option for females because they are induced ovulators and if they come into heat and aren't mated they can die of Aplastic anemia.
posted by Mitheral at 8:12 PM on December 23, 2009


looks like a pig dick to me.
posted by Balisong at 8:20 PM on December 23, 2009


The photo in the first link seems to have no credit, but it appears to be the same photo in this 2001 corkscrew penis article, and attributed to Nature.
posted by fish tick at 8:56 PM on December 23, 2009


There are some other excellent videos on that page. In particular "Unpeeeling a Sucker-footed Bat" and the "Vampire Running" in which a blood sucking creature runs something down exactly how I imagined them to in my worst childish nightmares (albeit on a much smaller scale).
posted by fshgrl at 9:46 PM on December 23, 2009


I am eating duck for Christmas dinner.

This is going to come up at the dinner table.

It will be awkward.
posted by arcolz at 11:38 PM on December 23, 2009 [2 favorites]


And yet, Tycho and Gabe still don't know if they're orange.
posted by DoctorFedora at 12:46 AM on December 24, 2009


Ho Sin sauce? No? Any takers?
posted by longbaugh at 12:53 AM on December 24, 2009


This is going to come up at the dinner table.

Just make sure you chew it thoroughly first, perhaps wash it down with some water.
posted by jbickers at 6:46 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


At my job, well...I don't work with ducks, but ducks live around my building. So I see several duck gang rapes a season. One time, I saw the duck pulling out and OMG. That was disturbing enough, but I didn't know how LONG it was.

I'm glad to see that even if the female ducks can't fight 'em off, at least they can be all, "Screw you, your sperm's going to waste in here." So that's something.

NATURE IS FUCKED UP AND WRONG, though.
posted by jenfullmoon at 9:35 AM on December 24, 2009 [1 favorite]


Wait, guys, yours isn't shaped like that?
posted by cjorgensen at 5:57 PM on December 25, 2009


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