Dr Adam Rutherford Profile picture
Back off man, I'm a scientist. President of @Humanists_UK Lecturer in Genetics @UCL Genetics, race, eugenics, history of science, movies, books, cricket, +–=÷×

Feb 14, 2023, 21 tweets

You asked for it, a Valentines sex in nature thread 🧵
1) Adélie penguins: transactional sex: females will give it up for a smooth stone. Males copulate with dead females, their own offspring, other males, and sometimes ejaculate onto the ice. Didn't show that in Happy Feet.

2) Giraffes: the best evidence we have says that the vast majority of sexual encounters in giraffes are male to male, penetrative and ejaculatory, and follow bouts of necking.

3) Australian redback spiders never meet their dad, as his penultimate act of a male is to provide sperm to a female, and his ultimate gift to help with the pregnancy and guarantee his genes survive is a nutritious meal – his own head. This is called sexual cannibalism. #sexy

4) Swans mate for life, so they say. However, DNA fingerprinting reveals that they practice ‘social monogamy’, where a male and female also enjoy ‘extra-pair copulations’. And around 6% of life-long swan lovers divorce –a bit higher than the global average for humans.

5) Lobster don't do any of the things Jordan Peterson says, because he's ignorant and incurious about most aspects of evolutionary biology. And the urinate out of their faces. That's an aside really.

6) Marine iguanas take about 3 minutes to ejaculate. Smaller males get round the possibility of being yanked off by a bigger male when mounting a female by ejaculating before they mount, and keeping the sperm in a little pocket, so they don't need the full 3 minutes.

7) The Tegu and necrophilia. I will simply present the scientific paper by Ivan Sazima, entitled:

'Corpse bride irresistible: a dead female tegu lizard (Salvator merianae) courted by males for two days at an urban park in South-eastern Brazil'

That's all for now. I'll probably do a few more depending on how thirsty I get this evening.

This is all from my very serious work about human exceptionalism and behavioural modernity by the way.


8) Ah yes and of course sea otters. 1) Males drown females and use their carcasses for sex until they fall apart.
2) Sometimes, they fuck females so hard, that they die, and then (see 1).

Yes, the sea otters that hold hands when they sleep: you have bought their cute lies.

9) Female fruitbats perform oral sex on males DURING penetrative sex. Researchers have suggested this might be to delay ejaculation and prolong sex, but frankly those researchers are probably on crack.

Oh, and they do this hanging upside down.

10) If you're on your own tonight, and feeling experimental, a bottlenose dolphin was once observed masturbating with an electric eel on its penis.

11) Hyenas live in female dominated societies, where hierarchy is established by clitoral licking.

11.5)Their clits are large, which confused researchers for many years (and this is telling about patriarchal assumptions), cos they assumed many females were males, and referred to their sex organ as a pseudopenis.

Aside: you should read Bi by @drjuliashaw. It's fabulous and so is she.

12) There were 2 bears in Zagreb Zoo who performed a daily act of felatio, lasting 4 minutes, always the same giver/receiver, who hummed until completion. The write up suggests this is some sort of substitute for suckling, but maybe they just liked it.


Aside: here's a feature I wrote about the Book of Humans, with some sex, some tool use, some Peterson-bashing which is fish in a barrel).


13) And as for us, we have decoupled sex from its historical primary purpose. Out of every 1,000 sexual acts that could result in a baby, only one actually does. In statistics, this is classed as not very significant.

So, whatever you're up to or into, get consent, and enjoy!

I'm running out of steam here, but 14) Male Cape ground squirrels are promiscuous, and masturbate after copulation, we think, for hygiene reasons, protecting themselves from sexually transmitted diseases by flushing their tubes. But y'know...

Wait! My former editor @hollharl reminded me that 15) bedbugs Cimex lectularius pierce the abdomen of his mate with a pointy scythe-like aedeagus, and the sperm will find their way to the eggs via the internal organs of the female. This is known as ‘traumatic insemination’.

@hollharl 16) The hermaphrodite flatworm Pseudobiceros hancockanus do ‘penis fencing’. The winner pierces the head of the other with its spiked organ, and coerces the loser into adopting the female role in this relationship, and becoming the sperm receptacle and egg bearer.

@hollharl That's it! Happy Valentine's Day, sweet dreams lovers 💖🏳️‍🌈💜

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