There are a lot of studies and news articles out there that I would love to blog about but, frankly, I just don’t have the time. Thankfully, usually someone else did have the time to write about it. So, I’ve decided that once a week I will post a list and short comment about different things I’ve seen on the interwebs that I thought were worth sharing.
This week: Choosy chickens, acts of government that may end human life, the link between masturbation and condom use, killer worm sperm, selfish woodpeckers, and loud lady bonobos.
Let me know if I’ve missed something crucial!
- Hens eject sperm from males as a way of controlling paternity. This is actually a fairly common phenomenon in animals. In hens, it appears that males can force females into matings, so the only way females can take control of who becomes their baby daddy is by getting rid of sperm from sub-par males. A similar phenomenon happens in fruit flies. Females sometimes decide after the fact that, eh, I don’t really want that guy to be the father of my tons of larvae. I saw a video of this at a talk once. I can’t find it online, so I’ll describe it to you. The female had mated, got buyer’s remorse, and started pulling the ejaculate out of her. She used her two hind-most legs, curled up, and just literally pulled the whole ball of goop out. Beats Plan B. Speaking of which…
- A new federal guideline will require all insurance companies to provide free birth control. Some GOP congress members and other conservative bigwigs have, to put it mildly, issues with this. Sandy Rios of the Family PAC has equated covering birth control to covering manicures and pedicures. She even goes on to say that maybe women should just have babies if they’re going to be such whores (I paraphrased a little bit there). Rep. Steve King of Iowa took it up a notch by suggesting that giving women birth control for free will lead to the extinction of the human race.
- While we’re on the subject of safe sex: a recent study found a link between masturbation and condom usage among teenage boys. Basically, boys who had masturbated in the last year were more likely to use a condom during their last sexual encounter than were boys who didn’t masturbate. The reason for this link is not known, and that will require different studies. Not surprisingly, three-quarters of boys said they masturbated. The study suggests that doctors and sex-ed teachers may want to actually start to address the often awkward and taboo topic of masturbation.
Unlike the little swimmy guys you usually picture when you think about sperm (which is, hopefully, not as often as I do), worm sperm actually crawl toward the egg. Most worms are hermaphrodites, but when the rare male shows up on the scene, a hermaphrodite is happy to mate with him (hermaphrodites have a limited supply of sperm, but not eggs. Getting more sperm is a total win). Want to see worms mating? Of course you do. That’s why I put a video of that here for you.