Thursday, November 6, 2014

Snakes and the evolutionary history of what NPR calls "boy bits"

This afternoon it took me more than two hours to go less than 20 miles on the outer loop of the Capital Beltway. The Beltway is the bane of my existence. The positive side of this chance to sit in one place, holding my bladder for two hours, was that I heard a most fascinating story on NPR. (Trust me—it’s at

Consider this a scientific paper, worthy of citing in any respectable journal. I have at least some credibility. In my former life I was actually employed—really, I got a paycheck—as a health communications writer. I did research using highly respected medical information sources and wrote for Federal Government agencies, including the CDC and NIH. I wrote for the American Academy of Pediatrics. I even wrote for WebMD, including an article on the fascinating, fear-inducing to some, topic of testicular torsion. (Yes, you can look that up too. Go ahead, take your time.) So don’t just dismiss what I have to say about snakes and the evolutionary history of the penis.

I have no issues with snakes. I’m not afraid of snakes, even the ones that were in my former house. I have a photo somewhere of myself with a boa constrictor wrapped around my neck. No fear at all unless they are poisonous. Snakes are really fascinating creatures, part of God’s perfect creation, except for that rotten serpent that got all of us expelled from paradise. But that’s another discussion for another time.

Neither do I have issues with all human beings who have penises. Just like snakes, most of those male human beings are fine creatures, also part of God’s perfect creation. I admit that I’ve had issues in the past with a couple of these creatures who have not been so fine in my humble opinion. But that too is another discussion for another time.

So science tells us that male snakes have not one but two penises. Surely they are the envy of the animal world. The two penises evolved over many centuries as a replacement for legs. Each of the penises is attached to the side of the snake’s body where legs would have been. They may have to crawl on their bellies but doggonit, they have two lads. So, take your pick—would you rather have two penises or legs?

If you even stop to consider your answer to that question, I’m pretty sure I can guess your sex in one try.

(The snake illustration is copyright free, in the public domain. It is the work of Dugald Stewart Walker, 1883-1937.)

No comments:

Post a Comment