January 25, 2011

Whales Are the New Threesome

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Whale Threesome

Right whales, massive sea giants once hunted almost to the point of extinction in the days of the whaling industry — who would have guessed these rotund, leisurely mammals entertained such scandalous sex lives? Not only is the right whale exhibitionist, swimming to the surface of the water to mate, but apparently, they’re quite fond of group sex as well!

In Observations of a Female North Atlantic Right Whale (Eubalaena glacialis) in Simultaneous Copulation with Two Males: Supporting Evidence for Sperm Competition in Aquatic Mammals, 2005, Mate, et al., describe the instance of a threesome that unfolded before researchers.

To put it in perspective for us, Sci, who blogs at Scienceblogs’ Neurotic Physiology gives some detail about a male right whales’ equipment:

You see, the male right whale is…pretty well endowed. Ok, REALLY well endowed. Male right whales are, on average, between 13-16m long. The penis is around 2-2.5m long. 15% of the male’s total length. Compare that to the human, average male human height, 1.75m (ish), average penis length, 0.15m = 8%. Buuuurn.

Not only that, whale penises are BENDY. Due to the potential mechanics of whale mating, this isn’t too surprising. During whale mating, you’ll get a whole group of males crowding and shoving around a female, waiting for an in. In many documented cases, the female will roll on her back, while the male is nearby on his side. He then snakes his penis up and around to get to the female’s vagina. Obviously it’s good to be both long and bendy.

That’s NOTHING to the BALLS. Right whales have the biggest testicles of any mammal on the planet. Together the balls weigh a TON. A literal TON. We’re not even going to do the human comparison because it will just make everyone feel inadequate.

Let’s just say the image at the top of this post is the imaginary, safe for work version. Here’s what a whale threesome actually looks like (we have added color to help you make sense of what is happening).

Whale threesome

As Sci notes in her post, there is a correlation between the size of a species’ testicles and promiscuity among members of that species, the logic here being that if you’re going to be competing with a lot of dudes to have her babies, you’d better have a big tool and a lot of man juice to get that egg fertilized.

Chimps have pretty big balls and are pretty promiscuous. Gorillas, on the other hand, don’t have such big balls and aren’t so promiscuous. Humans fit in the middle of all of this. But nothing compares to the right while, which, as mentioned, has epic balls. It’s just more evidence supporting that big balls are related to much competition, a proven by this aforementioned instance of a threesome that has everyone talking.

Sex sells everything — even science. Hurray! We’re down with having threesomes for science.

Top image by Dunkoman. Secondary image from Aquatic Mammals.

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Sex and the 405 is what your newspaper would look like if it had a sex section.

Here you’ll find news about the latest research being conducted to figure out what drives desire, passion, and other sex habits; reviews of sex toys, porn and other sexy things; coverage of the latest sex-related news that have our mainstream media's panties up in a bunch; human interest pieces about sex and desire; interviews with people who love sex, or hate sex, or work in sex, or work to enable you to have better sex; opinion pieces that relate to sex and society; and the sex-related side of celebrity gossip. More...