Gawd! Just as you settle into a comfortable certainty that Homo Sapiens is the crown jewel of Mother Nature, some Japanese biologist jumps out of his lab and waves a disposable penis at you.
Granted, it’s a tiny one, and it doesn’t belong to the boyfriend of that leggy blond you always hated, but still. In fact, according to the Royal Society’s journal Biology Letters, an enviously well-hung creature is a sea slug of a species called Chromodoris reticulata, which is found in the Pacific Ocean. Sea slug’s ‘disposable penis’ surprises.
If you thought that human sex life is complicated, look how much fun those little critters have: Almost all of these creatures, known to biology as nudibranchs, are thought to be “simultaneous hermaphrodites“, endowed by both male and female sexual organs and they can use them both at the same time. Then they shed their used penises, grow a serviceable replacements, and in a mere 24 hours can go at it again… repeating the feat up to 32 times in a row!
Bernard Picton, curator of marine invertebrates at the National Museums Northern Ireland, explains:
The genital apparatus is on the right hand side of the body. So two nudibranchs come together and one faces one way and one faces the other way, with the right hand side of their bodies touching.
The penis from one fits into the female opening of the other one, and the penis from that one fits into the female opening of the first one, if you see what I mean.
Of course, we do. One doesn’t have to have a disposable penis to figure out that Mother Nature went coo-coo with those nudibrachs, and then, for no good reason at all, doled out 1,300 grams of non-disposable gray matter, which most of us have no use most of the time, to each hapless adult human.
Well, perhaps it’s all the scabrous fun as I’m capable of squeezing out of sea slug’s penis. But there is more where this came from. I mean the Royal Society’s Journal Biology Letters, of course. The living planet is full of marvels, and this other one was discovered in 2010: Cricket earns big testicles title.
Scientists have found a bushcricket species with testicles that account for up to 14% of its body weight.
13.8% of body weight would amount, roughly, to 11 pound sack of family jewels per adult male. And should’ve Mother Nature gone all the way and shaped us up into simultaneous hermaphrodites, similar to nudibranchs, then PER PERSON!
Just look at this fine specimen! King David would’ve definitely benefited greatly, having what nudibranchs and bushcrickets enjoy so undeservedly. Better yet, in that hypothetical bend of nature, Bathsheba, too, would have been given what any self-respecting sea slug has…
The whole question of Who Seduced Whom — did Bathsheba set her cap for the king, or did King David force his lust on her — would’ve lost its relevance entirely.
Arguably, these gifts of nature would have impaired their ability to walk upright, but would they miss it a lot, lying side by side, facing in opposite direction and… smiling?