What happens if you give Froot Loops to a rat and study its penis

This week’s Feedback column (that I write) in New Scientist magazine has four segments. Here are bits of each of them: Not such a comfort — To see how a man’s stress levels and diet might alter his shape, one might give comfort food to a stressed rat and study its penis. Researchers at the State University of […]

Evangelical Subculture and Phallically Insecure Masculinity [new study]

What little things do some men get excited about? That’s one of the questions addressed in this new study: “Linking Evangelical Subculture and Phallically Insecure Masculinity Using Google Searches for Male Enhancement,” Samuel L. Perry [pictured here] and Andrew L. Whitehead, Journal for the Scientific Study of Religion, epub 2021. The authors, at the University […]

Using Magnetic Induction to Give a Cadaver’s Penis an Erection

Researchers used magnetic induction to get a rise out of, or into, a cadaver’s penis. Details are in the study “Use of Magnetic Induction to Activate a ‘Touchless’ Shape Memory Alloy Implantable Penile Prosthesis,” Brian V. Le, Kevin T. McVary, Kevin McKenna, and Alberto Colombo, The Journal of Sexual Medicine, vol. 16, no. 4, April […]

Did Bigger Penises Evolve to Protect Hermit Crabs’ Private Property?

Sex, economics, evolution, and stuckness all play roles in this new study about the evolution of larger penises in hermit crabs: “Private parts for private property: evolution of penis size with more valuable, easily stolen shells,” Mark E. Laidre, Royal Society Open Science, epub 2019. (Thanks to Thomas Michel for bringing this to our attention.) […]

A Biological Switching Valve Discovered in the Famous Sex-Role Reversed Cave Insect

The team that won the 2017 Ig Nobel Biology Prize for discovering a female penis, and a male vagina, in a cave insect has published a new paper, reporting a further discovery about the body parts of that insect. Their new paper is “A Biological Switching Valve Evolved in the Female of a Sex-Role Reversed […]

A look back at the Penises of the Animal Kingdom poster

Colin Dickey, writing in Topic magazine, explores the history of the Ig Nobel Prize-winning poster “Penises of the Animal Kingdom” and its creator, Jim Knowlton. Dickey’s report bears the headline “The Penis Poster That Rubbed People the Wrong Way“: “… Knowlton had been a graduate student at Columbia University, working on a PhD in particle […]

Penis morphology in a Burmese harvestman

Today’s item in our Shape-Of-Things-to-Come series gets a detailed look in this research study: “Penis morphology in a Burmese amber harvestman,” Jason A. Dunlop, Paul A. Selden, and Gonzalo Giribet, The Science of Nature, vol. 103, no. 11, February 2016. The authors, at Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science, the University of Kansas, the Natural History Museum [London, UK], and Harvard University, report: […]

The seasonal pulsing in size of skulls and penises

The gentle pulsing in size of body parts is one of Nature’s seasonal wonders. Evidence of this — with skulls and penises, respectively — is documented in two (well, three) studies published this year. Some Weasel Skulls Pulse Bigger and Smaller, Seasonally “Growth overshoot and seasonal size changes in the skulls of two weasel species,” […]