Dr. Price’s “Masturbation in birds” project aims to stimulate interest in ornithology. Dr. Price, based at the University of Liverpool, explains:
One of the projects I work on is trying to understand why some species of bird seem to masturbate loads, and other species don’t seem to do it at all. Masturbation is a pretty interesting behaviour, seen in loads of animals, from tortoises to horses, squirrels, and dolphins, as well as in humans, chimps and bonobos. But despite being so widespread, no one really knows why it happens in most of these species. There are lots of theories… As an evolutionary and behavioural biologist, I’d like to understand what’s going on.
(Thanks to Laura B for bringing this to our attention.)