The Loom

Kinkiness, Thy Name Is Duck

i-ce1f9d1aa4c4b6ce3fc7c0c2c46797e7-ruddy duck phallus.jpg When you find yourself, as I did a few days ago, spending a morning watching the absurdly long phalluses of ducks being coaxed from their nether regions, you can find yourself wondering how your life ended up this way. Fortunately, there is a higher goal to such weirdness. The phalluses of ducks are just the tip of an evolutionary iceberg. The female ducks have their own kinkiness, too. It’s all part of a fierce avian battle of the sexes.

For the latest, see my article in tomorrow’s New York Times. The paper on which it is based appears in the open-access journal PLOS One.

Update 5/1, 11 am: The gossips at Gawker discover the queasy fascination. Welcome to Nature.


  1. #1 invcit
    May 1, 2007

    Why did not the phalluses evolve to spiral the other way (after the female anatomy evolved this strategy as a way to gain more control)?

  2. #2 carpus
    May 1, 2007

    I read the article on line yesterday. Very nice. Keep up the good work.

  3. #3 Roy from Shrink Rap
    May 2, 2007

    It reminds me of one of those tanker planes that can fill up the nearly empty fuel tank of a 747 while in mid-air.

    The real question is, do ducks get penis envy?

  4. #4 VJB
    May 2, 2007

    Wow, the square peg in round hole’ idea has nothing on this opposite handedness in duck genitalia. Almost ‘ducks are from Venus; drakes are from a mirror universe’. Intelligent design, my aunt Fanny. Really clever, these ducks.

  5. #5 sailor
    May 3, 2007

    With the low success rate of raping ducks, it would be surprising if there is enough of a success rate to drive this kind of change – I would think that Ducks that have a willing mate must also be having higher success with the longer penis.

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