The Loudest Penis on Earth (science, not politics)

This one is great.  You really, really, have to love evolution some times (unless of course it’s outlawed in your jurisdiction).

Scientists from France and Scotland recorded the aquatic animal “singing” at up to 99.2 decibels, the equivalent of listening to a loud orchestra play while sitting in the front row.

The insect makes the sound by rubbing its penis against its abdomen in a process known as “stridulation”.

Researchers say the song is a courtship display performed to attract a mate.

[full story]

It what can only be called poetic justice, it turns out the loudest penis on earth is actually quite small.

What makes M. scholtzi extraordinary is that the area they use to create sound only measures about 50 micrometres across, roughly the width of a human hair.

“We really don’t know how they make such a loud sound using such a small area,” said Dr Windmill.

And that, folks, is how jokes write themselves.

BTW, the evolutionary angle on this one is fun too…

“We assume that this could be the result of a runaway selection,” biologist and co-author Dr Jerome Sueur from the Museum of Natural History, Paris, told the BBC.

“Males try to compete to have access to females and then try to produce a song as loud as possible potentially scrambling the song of competitors.”

Dr Sueur explained that the competition could have exaggerated the volume of males’ songs over time.

In many insects, the song volume is limited because predators would hear them, but observations suggest that M. scholtzi lack auditory predators.

Basically what this means if you have no natural predators that are attracted by outlandish displays of “maleness” (i.e. making really loud noises with your penis/car), then this type of behavior goes critical and becomes the defining characteristic of the species.

I think there might be a lesson in there somewhere.

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