One Small Seed Issue 17

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The Truth About Cats & Dogs   In the wild, female penguins engage in prostitution (even when in a committed relationship), exchanging sexual favours with males for pebbles to build their nests. On some occasions the prostitute penguins trick the males. They carry out the elaborate courtship ritual, and then, having bagged their stone, they run off.

Necrophilia has been documented among animals. The most well-known incident was recorded by Kees Moeliker of the Rotterdam Natural History Museum between two male mallard ducks. According to Moeliker, the ducks were engaged in rape flight (a common motif in duck sexual behaviour) and collided with his office window. “When one died the other one just went for it,” he said, describing the event as “homosexual necrophilia”.   Problems with encouraging pandas to mate in captivity have been very common. However, showing young male pandas ‘panda porn’ is widely credited with a recent population boom among pandas in zoos.

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Female porcupines have been observed using a stick as a dildo. Holding one end, they walk around and straddle it as it bumps against the ground, vibrating against their genitalia. Masturbation has also been observed among primates, deer, killer whales, kangaroos, dogs and penguins – both male and female. It seems the notion that animals don’t have sex for pleasure is fast becoming a myth. There are plenty of animals who masturbate when they have nothing better to do.

The 2009 winner of the

Ig Nobel Prize for Veterinary Medicine went to Catherine Douglas and Peter Rowlinson of Newcastle University, UK for showing that cows with names give more milk than cows that are nameless.   Argonaut is a weird species of octopus. The male produces a ball of sperm in a tentacle called a hectocotylus. When meeting a female it fancies, the penis-arm shoots out of its sheath and swims by itself to the female.

Current research reveals

interspecies sexual activity was responsible for the evolution of entire new species. Analysis of human and animal genes in 2006 indicated that after humans diverged from apes, interspecies mating occurred regularly enough to change certain genes in the new gene pool: “The X-chromosomes of humans and chimps diverged about 1.2 million years after the other chromosomes.” This indicates there were two splits between the human and chimp lineages; the first followed by interbreeding between the two populations, after which a subsequent split occurred. “If this theory is correct, it means modern man is descended from something akin to chimp-human hybrids.”

Nine out of ten sexual pairings among giraffes occur between males.   Seahorses, long upheld as monogamous and mating for life, are identified as “promiscuous, flighty, and more than a little bit gay” according to research published in 2007.   Despite the common weather report that ‘it’s raining cats and dogs’, frogs and fish are the animals most likely to rain from the sky. The most recent showers of frogs occurred in 2005 in Serbia, and it rained frogs in London in 1998. In 2006 it poured fish in India, while Wales got the fish-drop in 2004.   In November 2009, scientists at Wits University announced the discovery of a new dinosaur in the Northern Free State. The dinosaur is an estimated 195 million years old and is a momentous discovery as it links the earliest, bipedal dinosaurs with the large, quadrupedal plant-eating sauropods. It has been named Aardonyx celestae, meaning ‘Earth Claw’ (aard - Afrikaans for earth; onyx Greek for claw) – an appropriate name given that the large, earth-encrusted foot claws were some of the first bones to be discovered at the site.