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Feds Fund Studies Of Snail Sex, Duck Penises

First from CNS News:

Feds Fund $880,000 to Study Benefits of Snail Sex

By Matt Cover | March 27, 2013

(CNSNews.com) – The National Science Foundation awarded a grant for $876,752 to the University of Iowa to study whether there is any benefit to sex among New Zealand mud snails and whether that explains why any organism has sex.

Snails? Maybe they are trying to breed more Post Office workers.

The study, first funded in 2011 and continuing until 2015, will study the New Zealand snails to see if it is better that they reproduce sexually or asexually – the snail can do both – hoping to gain insight on why so many organisms practice sexual reproduction.

“Sexual reproduction is more costly than asexual reproduction, yet nearly all organisms reproduce sexually at least some of the time. Why is sexual reproduction so common despite its costs,” the study’s abstract asks.

It’s certainly "more costly" among human beings. What with dinner and movie prices being what they are.

“This project will use a… Potamopyrgus antipodarum, a New Zealand snail, which has both sexual and independently-derived asexual lineages that make it ideally suited to address fundamental evolutionary questions of how genes and genomes evolve in the absence of sexual reproduction.” …

So far, the grant has paid out $502,357, according to NSF, and could pay out the full $880,000 between now and 2015…

You could probably fund a lot of White House tours for $880,000.

And then we have this, from a couple days ago, from the seemingly sex-obsessed National Science Foundation, via CNS News:

$384,949 Federal Study Looks at ‘Plasticity in Duck Penis Length’

By Eric Scheiner | March 19, 2013

(CNSnews.com) – The National Science Foundation (NSF) has awarded a $384,949 grant to Yale University for a study on “Sexual Conflict, Social Behavior and the Evolution of Waterfowl Genitalia”, according to the recovery.gov website.

The grant description says,“The project examines how reproductive morphology covaries with season, age, and social environment in a diverse sample of duck species that differ in ecology, territoriality and breeding system."

The grant was made available through the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act, better known as the stimulus package.

Well, what do expect from a ‘stimulus package’?

The project has been receiving money from the NSF since 2009 and is slated for funding through July of this year.

“In the last quarter, we have prepared a manuscript for submission on the results of the first two years of experiments on social phenotypic plasticity in duck penis length in Lesser Scaup and Ruddy Duck. Experiments continued on genital social phenotypic plasticity in Mandarin Duck and Laysan Teal,” a 2010 fourth quarter recovery.gov update on the study says.

What are these ducks doing with plastic penises in the first place?

Many duck penises are cork-screw shaped and some scientists believe this is because of a form of evolution known as "sexual conflict"…

Oh, our sides.

According to the NSF grant abstract the study shows that age, environment and breeding changes can impact the penis length of certain ducks…

We get spam emails about this all the time.

The NSF grant abstract states, “Broader impacts of the research will be international, national, local, and personal."

Among those having a personal experience with the study are young minorities. “The project will incorporate high school students from under-represented minorities through the Yale University EVOLUTIONISTS program,” the NSF grant page says…

Well, then we guess it’s okay. Though it sounds a little racist. But you would think the TSA would be better suited to do this kind of research.

But meanwhile, we are being told the Republicans are using sequester cuts to keep the government from curing cancer.

This article was posted by Steve Gilbert on Thursday, March 28th, 2013. Comments are currently closed.

3 Responses to “Feds Fund Studies Of Snail Sex, Duck Penises”

  1. Maybe the corkscrew shape is just duck shrinkage. They do spend most of their down time soaking in cold water after all.

    Question : How do I get millions in government grant money to write a study that nobody cares about? Subterranean balloon navigation… underwater basket weaving… duck penises… it’s all the same.




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