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← How man 'lost his penile spines'

How man 'lost his penile spines' - Comments

sunbeamforjeebus's Avatar Comment 1 by sunbeamforjeebus

is this the origin of the word prick?

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 09:57:33 UTC | #600718

Cook@Tahiti's Avatar Comment 2 by Cook@Tahiti

Why didn't evolution add 'ribbed for her pleasure'?

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 10:19:15 UTC | #600724

sprite's Avatar Comment 3 by sprite

It should be noted, though, that the chimpanzee spines are not that significant. Indeed, there is little or no mention of them for example by Alan Dixson in his 'Primate Sexuality' and his is the most thorough work on such things.

As John Hawks notes:

Prosimians tend to have much more elaborated spines, in contrast chimpanzees' spicules are comparatively minor -- in a broad comparison across primates, Harcourt and Gardiner [3] rated chimpanzees along with humans as having insignificant penile spinosity.

Harcourt and Gardiner abstract:

Correlations between mating system and various aspects of genital anatomy suggest a strong influence of sexual selection on genital morphology. We test the generality of the influence by examining whether primate taxa in which there might be enhanced sexual selection (those with multi-male mating systems) possess, as expected, relatively more spinous penises than do taxa with other mating systems. As most prosimians, but few anthropoids (monkeys and apes), possess penile spines, and because the predominant mating systems of the two taxa differ, taxonomic constraints are taken into account. Sexual selection apparently does not act on penile spines in the same manner as on other aspects of genital anatomy: spinosity is not greatest in multi-male taxa of either prosimians or anthropoids. In some taxa, spines might stimulate reproductive readiness and synchrony in situations in which the sexes live apart and do not have other means of communicating reproductive state (dispersed social systems and `stolen' extra-pair copulations), but problems exist with the hypothesis, as they do with the idea that spines are involved with scent marking. It seems that either penile spines have several functions, or penile spinosity in primates, and other orders, remains to be explained.

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 10:54:21 UTC | #600729

sprite's Avatar Comment 4 by sprite

Also there is this about penis enhancements in Indonesia:

Men in some areas of Indonesia have a long history of inserting or implanting various objects in their penises. The origin of the practices is unclear, but some writers say that they were copied from Chinese traders who visited the islands, while others argue it is an indigenous innovation related to the use of other forms of amulets and inserts for medicinal and spiritual purposes. The objects used range from the very simple (the implant of ball bearings under the skin), to the magical (the use of specially selected semi-precious stones), or the elaborate (gold bars - called palang - or rings inserted through the glans).

.....................

While these might seem odd and esoteric practices long relegated to museums or Ripley's Believe It or Not, recent research is finding that the use of inserts is spreading rapidly among working class men in the Southeast Asia and Melanesia. The modern manifestations of inserts and implants are important because they may cause vaginal wounds, inflammation and infection among the partners of men attracted to these practices. They can also cause permanent damage to the males, particularly when the cutting involved is carried out under unhygienic conditions.

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 11:04:51 UTC | #600734

PhilippSpalting's Avatar Comment 5 by PhilippSpalting

Ew.

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 11:24:58 UTC | #600738

danconquer's Avatar Comment 6 by danconquer

As someone who goes in for anal sex, all I can say is that this is one bit of evolution I am jolly grateful for indeed.

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 11:49:21 UTC | #600745

Sample's Avatar Comment 7 by Sample

Next on the docket: vaginal geometry.

Mike

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 12:08:26 UTC | #600750

anonymous.shyster's Avatar Comment 8 by anonymous.shyster

I did not know that genome sequences couldbe deleted. Perhaps somebody could shed some light on this. PS: I am new on here and to Richard Dawkins, I really admire you and your integrity, you have changed my outlook on life and religion. You truly are an exceptional man. Not just intelligent but very handsome. Keep up the great work. :)

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 12:08:32 UTC | #600751

rsharvey's Avatar Comment 9 by rsharvey

Comment 2 by Rtambree :

Why didn't evolution add ' ribbed for her pleasure'?

To sort the men from the boys ;)

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 12:15:24 UTC | #600754

Reckless Monkey's Avatar Comment 10 by Reckless Monkey

Ah the old chain of progress illustrated without one penis visible. They should draw another with spiny to smooth phalluses culminating in our glorious human penis the pinnacle of evolution! Except of course the echidna which has a four pronged penis now that's really impressive and seemingly from this video almost prehensile (probably need some more control when your mate is covered in enormous spikes.

link text

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 12:21:47 UTC | #600755

danconquer's Avatar Comment 11 by danconquer

Comment 8 by anonymous.shyster :

I did not know that genome sequences couldbe deleted. Perhaps somebody could shed some light on this.

It could be that the sequence has not actually been deleted altogether, but rather that the spines have simply retreated into near-microscopic proportions? Vestigal parts do sometimes shrink to the point of near-invisibility without actually disappearing completely. However, I'm just a layman applying what I've read in Richards books.

Perhaps those very, very, very tiny little 'pimples' that one sometimes discovers lurking round the rim of people's bell-ends (apologies for the highly-technical language) are vestigal spines?

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 12:25:48 UTC | #600756

SaganTheCat's Avatar Comment 12 by SaganTheCat

The right wing will have a field day: "increased brain size linked to evolution of spineless dicks"

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 12:42:31 UTC | #600758

Luke_B's Avatar Comment 13 by Luke_B

danconquer:

I believe the gene sequence has actually been deleted. I think the whole study was based on looking a gene sequences that exist in our primate cousins but not in ourselves.

As for gene sequences being deleted, I'm no expert, but I believe it's entirely possible. It comes down to them first being switched off (for example we still carry the genes to make a tail but they're switched off). After they are no longer useful and there is no evolutionary pressure to keep them it's just a case of genetic drift/variation eventually causing them to disappear.

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 12:58:30 UTC | #600762

jsweet's Avatar Comment 14 by jsweet

Penile spines? That's rather graphic. Perhaps someone needs to bowdlerize this article.

Bah-dump.

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 13:23:37 UTC | #600767

anonymous.shyster's Avatar Comment 15 by anonymous.shyster

Comment 2 and 6 are very hilariros, I forgot to mention. :)

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 13:30:16 UTC | #600770

chaz2000's Avatar Comment 16 by chaz2000

I believe that if you go to the historical documents, the answer lies there. In the book of Genesis in the Bible, the story of how man lost his penile bone structure is there. Unfortunately, the text was translated incorrectly stating that God took Adam's "Rib bone" to make Eve. This would explain why man lost control of procreation to woman, and proves that God is female in nature because a male God would never exchange a penis bone for a larger brain. (Disclaimer: Any attempt to repudiate this whimsical theory is done at your own risk.)

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 14:08:36 UTC | #600776

Hawkins child's Avatar Comment 17 by Hawkins child

If we still had spiny (shorty baldheads) hardocore sex gone wrong could get ur cyclops (one eyed monster) in a cast no wonder the gene had to be turned off.

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 14:59:35 UTC | #600801

Vorlund's Avatar Comment 18 by Vorlund

Its a good thing really, there is an unhealthy obssesion with genitalia which could only be worse if people were going around comparing spines.

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 15:30:10 UTC | #600817

Vorlund's Avatar Comment 19 by Vorlund

Imagine what the abrahamic shower would be up to if we had penile spines and they thought women were going to enjoy sex too much?

They already think they have to improve doG's handy work.

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 15:32:55 UTC | #600821

Haymaker's Avatar Comment 20 by Haymaker

Comment 1 by sunbeamforjeebus is this the origin of the word prick?

Or even the word horny? I don't know why but it reminded me of a joke told by a very Young Rik Mayall ( as Kevin Turvey ) . Needs a Birmingham type accent for best effect - Q. What do yer say to a man with no arms and no legs but yer wanna look at his watch? A. "Have yer got time on yer cock?"

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 15:46:47 UTC | #600827

Schrodinger's Cat's Avatar Comment 21 by Schrodinger's Cat

Dunno about penile spines. I'm just glad we evolved arms long enough to.....er.....reach. And you really think an opposable thumb was for hanging on to branches ??

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 15:49:48 UTC | #600830

Tryphon Tournesol's Avatar Comment 22 by Tryphon Tournesol

ladies, when a man tells you he's got a boner, don't believe him.

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 16:08:41 UTC | #600862

Hendrix is my gOD's Avatar Comment 23 by Hendrix is my gOD

Tryphon Tournesol's Avatar Comment 22 by Tryphon Tournesol

ladies, when a man tells you he's got a boner, don't believe him.

"Hey baby, my ancestors had the biggest boners like you've never seen!"

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 16:16:20 UTC | #600876

sprite's Avatar Comment 24 by sprite

Just to clear up what appears to be some confusion here, this is not about the penis bone but about spines - hard, usually keratin, protuberences on the outside of the penis. And those of chimpanzees are miniscule anyway.

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 17:08:10 UTC | #600932

crookedshoes's Avatar Comment 25 by crookedshoes

Dan, Luke, Shyster...

Hunks of genomes can be deleted. It can occur when one strand slips during replication. The two strands are not "treated" the same during replication.... One is linearly replicated (the leading strand); the other is discontinuously replicated (the lagging strand). The machinery that handles this (the DNA polymerases) is prone to mistakes (not overly prone, just slightly). One of the mistakes is this slipping.

It (no surprise) is referred to as slipped strand mispairing. It can cause deletions and expanding triplet repeats. Both of which are implicated rather heavily in human evolution. These two along with transposons are events which have shaped our species.

google the following: okazaki fragments DNA polymerase slipped strand mispairing expanding triplet repeats transposons the mariner transposon chromosomal deletion, inversion, insertion...

pretty cool article here: link text

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 17:15:35 UTC | #600938

Hendrix is my gOD's Avatar Comment 26 by Hendrix is my gOD

Comment 24 by sprite

Just to clear up what appears to be some confusion here, this is not about the penis bone but about spines - hard, usually keratin, protuberences on the outside of the penis. And those of chimpanzees are miniscule anyway.

Oh, bummer! All these great jokes ruined by stubborn facts.

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 18:00:29 UTC | #600959

sara g's Avatar Comment 27 by sara g

The jokes are still valid, just not relevant to the article.

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 18:53:41 UTC | #600978

sara g's Avatar Comment 28 by sara g

Why would such a device have been selected for in the first place? Would this be one of those paternal line vs maternal line things? I still find that concept confusing.

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 18:55:04 UTC | #600979

Tryphon Tournesol's Avatar Comment 29 by Tryphon Tournesol

Comment 24 by sprite :

Just to clear up what appears to be some confusion here, this is not about the penis bone but about spines - hard, usually keratin, protuberences on the outside of the penis. And those of chimpanzees are miniscule anyway.

Allright, no boner it is, but I feel really saddened by hearing that modern man has even a lack of spine...please finish us off by telling that chimp's best friends are only relatively small :)

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 18:56:32 UTC | #600981

Neodarwinian's Avatar Comment 30 by Neodarwinian

Read this earlier and since the control gene is the ghost gene then the penile spine gene ( I coin PSG gene!! )has a possibility of being reactivated, though I do not know how.

Same linear view of human evolution again! That, along with the regulatory region under discussion, could go and no loss to anyone.

Thu, 10 Mar 2011 19:04:36 UTC | #600984