The Straight Dope

Go Back   Straight Dope Message Board > Main > General Questions

Reply
 
Thread Tools Display Modes
  #1  
Old 04-13-2009, 02:37 PM
NurseCarmen NurseCarmen is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: The Zen Arcade
Posts: 8,268
Windows are double hung. So are koalas.

Am I being suckered by wiki?

Quote:
The male Koala, like many marsupials, has a bifurcated penis. The female has two lateral vaginas and two separate uteri, which is common to all marsupials
Do marsupials really have two ding-a-lings? Googling "koala penis" only results in cute koala pictures and disturbing human pictures. Why do they need two? Do problems with static build up require polarization?
Reply With Quote
Advertisements  
  #2  
Old 04-13-2009, 03:23 PM
Giles Giles is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Newcastle NSW
Posts: 12,009
The Wikipedia article on "Koala" cites this book:
Dawson, T.J.; Finch, E., Freedman, L., Hume, I.D., Renfree, M., Temple-Smith, P.D. (PDF). Fauna of Australia; 17. Morphology and Physiology of Metatheria. pp. 51, 53. http://www.environment.gov.au/biodiv...e1b/17-ind.pdf . That's a moderately large PDF file, available on line, which supports the assertion that most marsupials have bifucated penises and double wombs.
Reply With Quote
  #3  
Old 04-13-2009, 03:26 PM
Malleus, Incus, Stapes! Malleus, Incus, Stapes! is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
IANAMarsupialogist, but I remeber reading the same thing about kangaroos.
Reply With Quote
  #4  
Old 04-13-2009, 03:27 PM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
Creature of the Night
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 20,803
I've read in several different places (and I am NOT gonna go a-googling, as I don't need those images before I go out to eat) that kangaroos have double equipment. I don't recall ever reading about a reasonable explanation, though.
Reply With Quote
  #5  
Old 04-13-2009, 03:28 PM
Lynn Bodoni Lynn Bodoni is offline
Creature of the Night
 
Join Date: Mar 1999
Location: Fort Worth, Texas
Posts: 20,803
<mod>This question has a factual answer, and possibly a factual explanation. I think it would do better in GQ.</mod>

Lynn
Reply With Quote
  #6  
Old 04-13-2009, 03:45 PM
dracoi dracoi is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Dec 2008
Many snakes also have a penis with separate halves ("hemipenes" is the term I've seen for snakes, but I don't know if also applies to koalas). I think it might also be the case in some sharks. Occasionally, a bifurcated penis will be seen humans as a birth defect.

I don't think there's much in the way of function - it's just the way they're made.
Reply With Quote
  #7  
Old 04-13-2009, 03:47 PM
Smeghead Smeghead is online now
Guest
 
Join Date: Apr 2000
IIRC, with kanagroos at least, it's so that they can have two babies going at once at different stages of development. My only cite is a vague recollection of David Attenborough, though, so don't quote me.

But, yeah, the double penis thing isn't all that unusual. Koalas also have double thumbs, which are pretty freaky up close.
Reply With Quote
  #8  
Old 04-13-2009, 04:27 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 26,082
Marsupial do in fact have bifurcated penises. Even weirder is that females have not one, not two, but three, count 'em, three vaginas. Besides the two lateral ones mentioned in the OP, they have a central "pseudo-vagina" that only opens up when they are about to give birth.

Last edited by Colibri; 04-13-2009 at 04:28 PM..
Reply With Quote
  #9  
Old 04-13-2009, 04:47 PM
Colibri Colibri is online now
SD Curator of Critters
Moderator
 
Join Date: Oct 2000
Location: Panama
Posts: 26,082
...

Last edited by Colibri; 04-13-2009 at 04:48 PM.. Reason: wrong thread
Reply With Quote
  #10  
Old 04-13-2009, 05:47 PM
astro astro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
I've heard that some Aborigines body modify by splitting the heads of their penises in two as some sort of reference to the marsupial penis setup. Is this true or BS?
Reply With Quote
  #11  
Old 04-13-2009, 06:39 PM
Lungfish Lungfish is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Splitting the head of a penis, but not the shaft, is known as headsplitting. Some aboriginals used to do something similar called subincision. The ritual consists of an urethrotomy in which the underside of the penis is incised and the urethra slit open lengthwise. It was done some after circumcision and is no longer practised. Here is a description of the procedure being carried out: Aboriginal Circumcision.
Reply With Quote
  #12  
Old 04-13-2009, 06:45 PM
Argent Towers Argent Towers is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
And we have a winner for the "link that nobody is going to click on" contest!
Reply With Quote
  #13  
Old 04-13-2009, 07:09 PM
astro astro is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Jul 1999
Quote:
Originally Posted by Argent Towers View Post
And we have a winner for the "link that nobody is going to click on" contest!
Having asked the question I felt obligated to click on the link provided and... ooofah... you have no idea. They make the kid eat his own.... must go lie down.
Reply With Quote
  #14  
Old 04-13-2009, 07:40 PM
Chronos Chronos is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Jan 2000
Location: The Land of Cleves
Posts: 55,260
You think the marsupials are weird? The spiny anteater, one of two extant monotremes, has a four-headed penis.
Reply With Quote
  #15  
Old 04-13-2009, 08:07 PM
Giles Giles is offline
Charter Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: Newcastle NSW
Posts: 12,009
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
You think the marsupials are weird? The spiny anteater, one of two extant monotremes, has a four-headed penis.
Nitpick: There's more than one spiny anteater: two genera (Tachyglossus and Zaglossus) are generally recognised. (And I've patted several Tachyglossus aculeatus specimens, whose spines are not as sharp as they look, but not examined their penises -- they may have been female, in fact, since I did not look at their genitalia)
Reply With Quote
  #16  
Old 04-13-2009, 09:46 PM
NurseCarmen NurseCarmen is offline
Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: The Zen Arcade
Posts: 8,268
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chronos View Post
You think the marsupials are weird? The spiny anteater, one of two extant monotremes, has a four-headed penis.
That is easily the coolest video I've seen all week. It reminds me of that scene from Alien.
Reply With Quote
  #17  
Old 04-14-2009, 07:48 AM
crowmanyclouds crowmanyclouds is offline
Guest
 
Join Date: Sep 2005
Who'd have thought "Your hung like an anteater." wasn't an insult?

CMC fnord!
Of course "You've got a tongue like an anteater." has always been quite the compliment ... I think.

Last edited by crowmanyclouds; 04-14-2009 at 07:49 AM..
Reply With Quote
Reply



Bookmarks

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off

Forum Jump


All times are GMT -5. The time now is 03:06 PM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.7
Copyright ©2000 - 2014, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.

Send questions for Cecil Adams to: cecil@chicagoreader.com

Send comments about this website to: webmaster@straightdope.com

Terms of Use / Privacy Policy

Advertise on the Straight Dope!
(Your direct line to thousands of the smartest, hippest people on the planet, plus a few total dipsticks.)

Publishers - interested in subscribing to the Straight Dope?
Write to: sdsubscriptions@chicagoreader.com.

Copyright 2013 Sun-Times Media, LLC.