A different perspective

Many spider papers feature detailed closeups of their genitalia, because genitals are often diagnostic of the species. They’re often weird and twisty and convoluted, which is pretty cool. Unfortunately, they often focus exclusively on the palps, the male genitalia because they’re entirely external and easy to see and the female side of things get short shrift. It’s the same for humans!

So here you go! If you ever wondered about the internal shape of the vagina, it’s been done.

How strange. It’s roomier than I expected. There’s also a series of photos that show the variations. Neat!


  1. leerudolph says

    While struggling with a puzzle in translation (into English from a 19th century Belgian poet’s) earlier this year, I learned the term os tincae, literally ‘mouth of a carp’ (specifically of the kind of carp called a “tench” in English). From the Oxford English Dictionary:

    Anatomy. Now rare or historical.
    The opening of the cervix into the vagina; the os uteri or externum.
    1737 Med. Ess. (Edinb.) III. xix. 318 I examined her Condition, and found that the Os Tincæ had..not yielded.
    1740 W. Cheselden Anat. Human Body (ed. 5) iv. ii. 271 Its orifice into the vagina, is called os tincæ, from the resemblance it bears to a tench’s mouth.
    1859 Todd’s Cycl. Anat. & Physiol. V. 626/1 This unequal form of the two lips doubtless gave origin to the term os tincæ, by which the older anatomists designated the part.[…]

    I think it must be subsumed into the “cervix impression” in the figure above (and probably not visible at that angle, anyway).

  2. Pierce R. Butler says

    It’s roomier than I expected.

    I eagerly await explanations from adaptationists!

    Reportedly, the Elizabethans reacted to female genital internality with the slang “nothing”, which puts Shakespeare’s “Much Ado About Nothing” in a whole new light.

  3. Louis says

    I wonder if, finally, this is the appropriate thread in which it acceptable to describe a collection of things as “a bunch of c…

    Oh look! Is that a squirrel?


    P.S. The “C” I was going for was “candid images”. Get your minds out of the gutter!

  4. says

    Dear PZ,
    You know that this post will be banned on all the prudish Xtian Terrorist sites because of the words about ‘naughty bits’.
    Off topic, but a chuckle about the podish sortacasts
    But, seriously, I appreciate the info provided on the ‘sortacasts’. But, since I’m not fully ‘in the know’ about all the blogs yet, could the presenters provide some on-screen identification (personal name or blog name) so we would know more about them?

  5. Rob Grigjanis says

    Pierce @2: Well, ‘nothing’, or ‘country matters’. Hamlet, Act 3 scene 2

    [To Ophelia] Lady, shall I lie in your lap?
    No, my lord!
    I mean, my head upon your lap.
    Ay, my lord.
    Do you think I meant country matters?
    I think nothing, my lord.
    That’s a fair thought to lie between maids’ legs.
    What is, my lord?

  6. blf says

    […] this blog was rated PG?

    Peas Gastrocide?

    The Urban Dictionary definition of “Gastrocide” asserts you eat whatever (peas in this case) generally because it is delicious and life is too short to live in avoidance. This is obviously false in the case of peas, which are eaten only because they pry your mouth open (or simply jump in your nose) and then do a kamikaze run down the throat. Your throat, and you do the kamikaze… the pea(s) continue to spread their taste (absence), texture (lack thereof), and Dalek-like attitude.

  7. Owlmirror says

    Anybody else remember when this blog was rated PG?

    I happen to remember that shortly after joining Scienceblogs in 2006, PZ wrote about Sex in the MRI. There may well have been similar stuff before that posting that I don’t recall, but there definitely was more kinky stuff after that, especially the wild cephalopod sex. Oh! And I just remembered the slugs getting it on, shortly after that.

    So, no. You can’t remember what wasn’t true, although you can misremember.

  8. John Morales says


    … but there definitely was more kinky stuff after that …

    Indeed. The monkey with the frog comes to mind.

  9. JimB says

    And almost every comment section had a post by woot with their links to boobies…

    What ever happened to woot?

  10. Owlmirror says

    Mind you, the Elizabethans had so many words for the female genitals that it is quite hard to speak a sentence of modern English without inadvertently mentioning at least three of them.
    — (Terry Pratchett, alt.fan.pratchett)