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Über dieses Produkt
- KurzbeschreibungA tour of evolution's most inventive-and essential-creations: animal genitalia
Forget opposable thumbs and canine teeth: the largest anatomical differences between humans and chimps are found below the belt. In Nature's Nether Regions , ecologist and evolutionary biologist Menno Schilthuizen invites readers to discover the wondrous diversity of animalian reproductive organs. Schilthuizen packs this delightful read with astonishing scientific insights while maintaining an absorbing narrative style reminiscent of Mary Roach and Jerry Coyne. With illustrations throughout and vivid field anecdotes-among them laser surgery on a fruit fly's privates and a snail orgy- Nature's Nether Regions is a celebration of life in all shapes and sizes.
- AutorMenno Schilthuizen
- VerlagPenguin Putnam Inc
- Seiten256 Seiten
- Gewicht238 g
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
. . . yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.
-James Joyce, Ulysses
Not too long ago, the Netherlands Natural History Museum was housed in a lofty, cavernous building in the historical center of Leiden. Generations of biology students took their zoology classes there, in its two-tier lecture theater over the monumental staircase. During the less captivating parts on crustacean leg structure or mollusk shell dentition, their gaze would have wandered off to the two features that made this lecture room unforgettable. First, its abundant display of antlers of deer, antelope, and other hoofed animals, hundreds of them, suspended from the walls. Second, the huge painting from 1606 of a beached sperm whale that hung over the lectern. On an otherwise nondescript Dutch beach lies the Leviathan, its beak agape, its limp tongue touching the sand. A smattering of well-dressed seventeenth-century Dutchmen stand around the beast. Prominently located, and closest to the dead whale, stand a gentleman and his lady. With a lewd smile, face turned toward his companion, the gentleman points at the two-meter-long penis of the whale that sticks out obscenely from the corpse. Centuries of smoke-tanned varnish cannot conceal the look of bewilderment in her eyes.
These few square feet of canvas, strategically placed in the painting's golden ratio, exemplify two things. First, the unassailable fact (supported by millennia of bathroom graffiti, centuries of suggestive postcards, and decades of Internet images) that humans find genitals endlessly fascinating. Their own, but by extension those of other creatures, too. The amazing diversity in shape, size, and function of the reproductive organs of animals has been an eternal source of wonder, making bestsellers of the 1953 book The Sex Life of Wild Animals, the 1980s classroom wall poster Penises of the Animal Kingdom (over twenty thousand copies sold), and the Sundance Channel series Green Porno- short films starring a sanguine Isabella Rossellini enacting the copulation of various animals.
The second point that may be underscored with this seventeenth-century sperm whale penis is the curious observation that the public fascination with genitalia was, until very recently at least, not matched by equally intensive scientific inquiry. The lofty offices down the corridor from this lecture theater housed scores of biologists quietly cataloging the world's biodiversity
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