Life Lessons from the Animal Penis

Life Lessons from the Animal Penis

Emily Willingham, PhD, the keynote speaker of the 22nd Annual Fall Scientific Meeting of the SMSNA, sought to contextualize the human penis within the greater world of animal penises in her lecture, “Life Lessons from the Animal Penis.”

Dr. Willingham emphasized the potentially damaging effects of overstating the importance of penis at the expense of looking at a person as a whole, while simultaneously engaging attendees with surprising facts on animal penises. Among the fun facts Dr. Willingham shared were that some butterflies have light detectors on their genitalia, male ducks have corkscrewed penises and female ducks have vaginas that corkscrew in the opposite direction, and the first documented erection of a harvestman (a relative of the daddy longlegs) was fossilized 99 million years ago.