What’s the “ideal” penis? Is it the length or the girth that determines its desirability? In Ancient Greece and Rome it was all about being dainty and uncircumcised, while in Edo Period Japan, shunga (ancient Edo era porn) showed the penis as huge, veiny, and uncircumcised. But what about today? Well, certainly in the Western world the emphasis is on size, the larger the better. But what if I told you that this obsession with size could lead to the extinction of the entire species? I mean we’re already halfway there with the way we’ve being treating our planet, but who would have thought that this appendage might spell doom for us all?
A recent study by the Smithsonian Institution revealed that there might be a link between penis size and species extinction. The lead scientist of this project, Maria João Fernandes Martins and her team devoted a lot of time to study an ancient species of crustacean called Colymbosathon ecplecticos, which literally translates to “astounding swimmer with a large penis.”
According to the study, when the physical differences between females and males is significant, it can lead to a faster extinction than species where the differences are not that noticeable. As Fernandes Martins explains, this is just one study among many regarding extinction, but she believes that it is crucial and obvious to study species that are no longer with us.
Now, these crustaceans are great a test subject regarding sexual evolution because they date back hundreds of millions of years ago and offer great geological evidence of their time on this planet. Moreover, they are thought to be the animal with the oldest penis, meaning that they were among the first to have a recognizable sexual organ. Another interesting tidbit is that they diversified into about 70 thousand different species, which gives insight into their evolutionary process and allows us to compare it with other contemporary species. Turns out, the size of their penis played an important role in their own extinction.
These tiny creatures resemble shrimps with shells similar to clams, but the males were noticeably larger because most of the space was taken up by the huge penis. Its size was huge in proportion to its body, apparently it was six times bigger than the crustacean itself. The latter is related to an intense sexual selection, meaning that this species passed most of the time mating and reproducing. This could mean that species that focus more on their sexuality could potentially be heading to a swifter extinction than those that only reproduce when necessary. But more importantly, these scientists connect this physical trait with what happens with many species where the male is more colorful and alluring than the females, a perfect example would be the peacock.
Now, naturally, as I mentioned, this is just one study that seeks to understand the role sexual selection has in the evolution and extinction of a particular species. While they began their study focusing on an already extinct creature, they claim the next natural step would be to estimate the fate of living creatures that present sexual dimorphism, like elephants and humans. An interesting fact they discovered that is relevant for humans is that female ostracods weren’t so passive as we may believe, they chose their mates and also those that would fertilize their eggs. This means they played an active role in their sexuality and it opens the door to the possibility of pleasure being involved.
All in all, this study could be the starting point to a question we’re all obsessed with: where will our doom come from? Maybe while we’re waiting for a volcano to explode or a meteor to come crashing down over our heads, perhaps we can look downwards and take a peek at that little guy and wonder if it’ll bring hella lot of problems.
Oh, before I forget, here’s a picture of the little fella who inspired this whole debate:
For more articles on technology and science, take a look at these:
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Illustrations by @fayollemarion