No dick is too Durham

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Lauren Reid does not work for, consult, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has disclosed no relevant affiliations beyond their academic appointment.

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The penis. As you would imagine, different species have very different penises. The other function of a baculum is speed.

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Sliding an already-erect bone into the fleshy penis is much easier and more reliable than waiting for the penis to fill with enough blood to maintain an erection long enough to deposit sperm into a female as is the case with us ever-romantic human beings. This speed is of real importance in many species, as mating often has to be quick and opportunistic. It also allows for quantity-over-quality mating. So, inevitably, this brings us to the question of why humans are the only apes to lack a penis bone.

Interestingly, our closest living relatives, including the chimpanzee, possess penis bones, but those bones are very small. It is possible that our primate relatives may too eventually lose their bacula. Complete loss of a baculum in humans seems to just continue a trend towards baculum size reduction which is found among the great apes. It is also thought the presence of a baculum is associated with longer mating or perhaps just much more mating as in the case of the lion discussed above.

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It would certainly be interesting to learn more. A version of this article first appeared on PygmyLoris.

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Models for Cause and Effect: causal inference for social scientists — Southampton, Southampton. Edition: Available editions United Kingdom. Lauren ReidDurham University. Evolution Reproduction Sexual selection.

No dick is too Durham

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