Sunday, October 10, 2010

Bat fellatio? Who knew?

According to PLoS ONE, an organization that publishes peer-reviewed scientific articles, fellatio occurs during copulation in fuit bats, Cynopterus Sphinx.  Now, this is something I never thought I would be considering, much less discussing in public.  

I happened upon this tidbit when I saw an article about the Ig Nobel prizes which are given out every year at Harvard University.  They award this distinction for scientific research that has been deemed rather silly.  From the article...

The awards honor scientific achievements that "first make people laugh, and then make them think," according to an Ig Nobel release....
This year marks the 20th time the prizes have been awarded. Out of a pool of almost 7,000 nominations, a committee whittled down the list to 10 winners, said past honoree Kees Moeliker, who won in 2003 for discovering homosexual necrophilia in mallard ducks. Since winning the prize himself, Moeliker has become part of the Ig Nobel organization and helps choose the champions now.

Of the 10 victors, eight attended the ceremony, where they were permitted a maximum of 60 seconds each to deliver an acceptance speech. The accolades were presented by five actual Nobel laureates in an event produced by the science, humor magazine "Annals of Improbable Research.
"Scientists can take themselves way too seriously," said Karina Acevedo-Whitehouse of the Zoological Society of London, winner of the engineering award for figuring out how to use a helicopter with Petri dishes strapped to its front to collect samples of whale snot to study disease in the mammals.

She said the awards were a good chance to loosen up and share the lighthearted elements of research with the public

The article that caught my eye,of course, was the bat fellatio.  You just KNOW I had to watch that video.  And then you KNOW I had to read that paper. 

Apart from the giggle factor, which is enormous, the study is pretty interesting.  The link is below.  But as I sat open-mouthed watching bat porn (I thought I was pretty agile, but good gravy!!), it seemed to be going on and on and on.  Then I realized the video was running as a loop.  All of a sudden I felt like I was in one of those peep booths, dropping quarters into the machine to keep it running.  I was so ashamed.  I wondered why on earth I was doing this.  I also wondered why the floor was so sticky.

If these things had been covered in my high school biology class, it would have been much more interesting.  Oh well, enjoy!!

By the way....."homosexual necrophilia in mallard ducks"??  Talk about a buried lede!  Oy!

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