Dec 08 2012

Anti-Caturday post

Suddenly, I have a deep respect and admiration for tapirs. I want to be able to stroke my beard sagely while also typing with both hands.

Notice that no cat made the cut to appear in this video.


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  1. 1

    I have always had respect for tapirs since I tasted their meat. It’s excellent.

  2. 2

    Now where’s that metric ruler…?

  3. 3
    Glen Davidson

    Not boneless ham.

    Glen Davidson

  4. 4

    The chimp appeared to be eating during sex. Classy.

  5. 5

    Speaking of cats…… I miss this one terribly.

    December 8, 1980.

    John Lennon had been shot.

    I do this every December 8th….. I awake to the sad fact that this is the day that the man I perceived to be the very consciousness of music and art was gunned down.

    In what was a bloody 17 years preceding this event, starting with JFK, Malcom, Martin, Bobby…… all of whom were transcendent political figures but nebulous figures to the mind a child. As it turned out, those years and those violent deaths, for me, were an introduction to Cynicism 101.
    You see, I wasn’t quite able to truly understand the senseless violence that had occurred in those years leading up to this one.

    However, when John was killed, I recognized something. Something similar. The killing had an eerie resemblance to the famous violent deaths that I had grown up with. I tried to make sense of it. Tried to cry out the rage. Tried to chalk it up to ‘the way of the world’. But that never seemed enough. It still doesn’t. I now believe that John Lennon’s murder was the last American political assassination of the 20th century.

    Every year at this time, as the days grow unbearably short and the sunlight slips away with impersonal ease, just as the years have since slipped away….. I look back and wish we had done better. In many ways we have accomplished astonishing things. In many ways we haven’t come far at all.

    Goodbye once again, Mr. Lennon.

    I miss you.

  6. 6

    Wrong goddamn video. Dammit!!

  7. 7

    just click on the “Uploaded videos (10 videos)” and scroll over to the last one.

  8. 8

    For some inexplicable reason, I found myself searching for the calculator app on my I-Phone, and dividing 13 centimeters by the factor 2.54.

  9. 9

    dear joeyess, really?

  10. 10
    A. R

    Where’s Louis?

  11. 11
    silomowbray, sans frottage pour la douche

    Holy gods. I want one MY penis to be prehensile like that. That, and independent eye movement like a chameleon and I’m gold.

  12. 12

    I want one MY penis to be prehensile like that.

    Possible typo here. Did you mean to say that you wanted one of your penises to be prehensile like that?

    Sorry to be such a stickler.

  13. 13
    silomowbray, sans frottage pour la douche

    Yes it’s a typo.

    …or maybe it isn’t.

  14. 14

    Presumably this video was just posted for fun or some in-joke that I don’t get. But since people presumably expect biology topics posted here to be reliable, here are some corrections to the “information” presented in the video, which swoons over penis size in animals but drops science by the wayside in favor of titillatiion.

    1:27 “And something else that’s kind of interesting about the tapir penis is that it’s not only huge, it’s also prehensile. So that means that they can control it, much like we can control a hand.”

    Accompanied & followed by video of male tapir(s) waving penis around like a paralyzed arm, with no indication that it’s actually “prehensile” (“adapted for seizing or grasping especially by wrapping around”).

    1:52 “And it also uses the control it has over its penis to bypass the female’s vagina altogether and deposit sperm right into her uterus.”

    Seriously, “bypass the…vagina altogether“?? Like there’s a completely separate path to the uterus, maybe through the GI tract?

    And, golly gosh, while tapirs have very large penises which might or might not be exquisitely controllable, those features are not uniquely required for deposition of sperm into the uterus. From http://www.vivo.colostate.edu/hbooks/pathphys/reprod/fert/gxport.html : “Semen is ejaculated and deposited initially into one of two sites: the vagina (e.g. humans, cattle, rabbits) or the uterus (e.g. horses, pigs, rodents).

    5:27 “So why is the human penis so big? Well, female preference for longer thicker more bendy penises in our species in our male counterparts has shaped the evolution of the penis over the past 2 million years or so.”

    Hmm, that must be it; lucky for humans that females decided the male penis had gotten big enough, otherwise it’d be the size of those cloth one she shows off in the video, much less the ones she has her “boys” show off in the video. (Good thing men’s preferences didn’t get to determine the length of the penis, eh?)

    And obviously there would be no reason to think that anything like match in size/shape to the vagina, ability to get sperm successfully into the uterus & beyond, would have been important considerations in evolution of the penis, in terms of size at least. (So the reason there’s variation around the world in average penis size must be regional preferences females have had in the past 20K-150K years, it seems.)

    5:38 “Now the story with the testicles isn’t quite the same.” [Chimps have big testicles because they’re promiscuous, never sure which offspring is theirs, need lots of sperm.] “The testicles of the human male are quite a bit smaller, almost half the size of the chimpanzee, and this is because the human social system is largely monogamous. Male partners know they are the father of their female partner’s children. So, they don’t need as much sperm.”

    Explanation-by-epistemology? Men know their partners’ offspring are theirs, therefore they don’t need big testicles. As opposed to, larger testicles didn’t provide a benefit in successfully passing on one’s genes.

  15. 15

    She’s misinterpreting the meaning of “60% of the body” to mean 60% of head+body+legs when selecting that inconvenient-looking inflatable toy. For a 28″ torso length, 60% would be “only” 17 inches.

    Which would still be pretty freakish.

  16. 16

    A shame the discussion of relative primate penis and testicle sizes uses the assumption that monogamy is normal for humans. The writers really need to read Sex at Dawn.

  17. 17

    Myk: Sex at Dawn has some serious flaws, like most evolutionary psychology. I just don’t buy the premise behind it. If the book had argued for serial monogamy it would have fit the evidence a whole lot better (though still on shaky ground). I’m pro-polyamory but using crappy evo-psych to justify it seems ridiculous to me.

  18. 18

    BTW, I also don’t buy monogamy as a reason for smaller testicles. We’re upright walkers which changes the position of the testicles, if humans had testicles at the same proportion as chimps it would probably cause some discomfort when walking or running.

  19. 19

    A shame the discussion of relative primate penis and testicle sizes uses the assumption that monogamy is normal for humans.

    I think she said “mostly monogamous.” Which is true, relative to the chimpanzee– and certainly to the bonobo. In this case, “monogamous” appears to apply only to the females, since she translated it in terms of assurance that any progeny resulting from copulation would be genetically the father’s. Female gorillas are largely monogamous; male gorillas are anything but. But while human harems exist, they’re not the norm like they are for gorillas, neither is sex basically a free-for-all like it is for chimps (and especially bonobos).

  20. 20

    Just a test comment. Long time follower but first time commenter at freethought blogs. Hello. Just another middle aged Anti theist. I have admired Mr. Myers for a long time, despite his ambiguity toward cats.

  21. 21

    I highly recommend re-watching the video (the subject of the post) with closed captioning on. It’s hilarious.

  22. 22

    All this discussion is fine, as long as it doesn’t run contrary to what I learned about the history of human sexuality from the movie Quest for Fire (link –> http://goo.gl/B7zS4), voted one of the Top Ten best films for viewing while hammered.*

    Also, there’s a relevant Wikipedia entry for the film (link –> http://goo.gl/55UHQ). {I don’t know why the section is labeled with a note saying there are no references/sources cited, when in fact there are several citations.}

    *May not actually be a true statement.

    P.S. The links are acting weird – at least in Preview – athough since I don’t visit these parts often, I may have missed the relevant memo.

  23. 23

    Hmm, that first link is interesting for its own reasons, but not the one I was trying to insert.
    Lessee if this works:

  24. 24

    I’m pro-polyamory but using crappy evo-psych to justify it seems ridiculous to me.

    So I’m guessing “She’s the mother of my children and I still love her, but…” would also be a non-starter?


  25. 25

    Nope, apparently the link doesn’t fully survive the posting process, but if you put “39″ in the page number box (“Page xx of 52″) at upper right, you’ll arrive at the lovely story of the lovely Rae Dawn Chong.

  26. 26

    Is anyone else disturbed by the fact that a white women is parading around black men as monkeys and talking about penis size?

  27. 27
    throwaway, never proofreads, every post a gamble

    Not in the least bit disturbed. There were no monkeys in this video.

  28. 28
    Akira MacKenzie

    “Size does matter.”

    Great, as if I didn’t have enough insecurity in my life!

  29. 29

    Disturbed? Not me. This is about as tongue-in-cheek as it gets. (Hint, throwaway, you’re supposed to snigger at the stereotypes shown here…)

  30. 30
    McC2lhu doesn't want to know what you did there.

    If you’re upset about your size, perhaps you could talk to Trebek about the Penis Mightier?

  31. 31
    McC2lhu doesn't want to know what you did there.

    Anyway, sometimes less is more. I don’t think anyone would be pleased if they were dating a to-scale barnacle.

  32. 32

    I was a bit bothered by the opening shot of the two buff black guys opening the curtain, it was too resonant of US historical slavery tropes to be comfortable, but they had white guys holding up the human-barnacle penis as well.

  33. 33

    So, John Lennon’s penis was huge, or something?

  34. 34

    I was a bit bothered by the opening shot of the two buff black guys opening the curtain, it was too resonant of US historical slavery tropes to be comfortable, but they had white guys holding up the human-barnacle penis as well.

    It’s not that. It’s the associations present that portray black men are hyper-sexual man-beasts.

  35. 35
    Outrage Zombie

    I’m not sure how us humans having smaller testicles means we are naturally monogamous. Human men don’t seem to be terribly limited by their smaller balls in their ability to impregnate women.

    Never mind that the concept of monogamy as the practice for “proper” people to strive for – where two people who are sexually active are only sexually active with each other, ideally for the length of their lives – seems to be a relatively new one, and is far from universal. Hell, even the gorillas aren’t monogamous — and look at how small their testicles are. Trying to infer a species’ sexual norms from its sack-size seems somewhat less straightforward than the writers of this video would like to believe.

  36. 36
    Outrage Zombie

    ” Trying to infer a species’ sexual norms from its sack-size seems somewhat less straightforward than the writers of this video would like to believe, at least when trying to shoehorn our specific culture’s concept of sex and morality into the animal kingdom.”

    Try to fix a typo, screw it all up.

    (Not that it was good to begin with)

  37. 37

    I think I prefer Green Porno.

  38. 38

    I thought Sex at Dawn did a pretty good job supporting its main idea, which is that the primary purpose of human sexuality(and of a few other primates) is not reproduction. Its main purpose is socialization, which is not surprising, since its the same reason humans have the big brains.

    One statistic I thought was pretty relevant was “Number of Copulations per birth”. For gorilla/orangs, it is 1000. The data was taken from a 1998 paper by A.F. Dixson on primate sexuality. That, plus other ideas from the book do provide evidence that it is very likely human sexuality was multi-female, multi-male up until the rise of agriculture.

    The sexuality of current hunter-gather societies may give us some insight into pre-agricultural human societies. The stories of how multiple fathers are accepted as “normal” in these societies were pretty interesting. Sexual monogamy isn’t necessarily good or “natural”, just likely pretty recent in evolutionary terms.

  39. 39

    My first comment, and it gets screwed up! I think a “less than” sign screwed things up.

    The line “For gorilla/orangs, it is 1000″ is incorrect.

    It should read:
    The “Number of copulations per birth” was less that 20 for gorilla/orang and greater than 1000 for chimp bonobo/human.


  40. 40
    chigau (違う)

    < and > are used for HTML.
    If you want to make them appear as themselves type
    &l t;
    &g t;
    without the spaces

  41. 41

    Thetristantomes @32: Well, that as well. I don’t think I know the American psyche well enough to try and untwist the strands of that particular rope. But again they had buff white guys, so on the evidence of one video, I was willing to put it down to statistical cluster.

  42. 42
    Markita Lynda—threadrupt

    I thought gonad size was in part related to sperm competition, e.g. females mating with several males and males trying to wash out the previous mates’ sperm with their own. (See sperm whales for an example.)

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