No boner jokes please

27-Oct-2016

This week, I have mostly been pondering the baculum. A wonderful friend, "glidergoth", brought me one as a present from her trip to the States, and the wonderful Museum of Osteology (previously mentioned here).

I cannot speak to the truth of anyone using this as a toothpick or a coffee stirrer. But is has been a conversation piece, and raised a number of questions. The first question is: "which way around does it go?" I had thought it was sort of obvious. One end has that double-bubble shape like the knee end of a femur, or elbow end of the humerus, so surely that's the bendy joint side?

 

I hesitate to link to the video that enlightened me  (as I really can't explain the who or what or why of a video where someone has pulled up on the highway to fondle a dead raccoon, with authentic sounds of disturbed flies), but it does show the baculum in position really well. And it is exactly the opposite of what I expected. So I will just note that it probably is not safe for work (NSFW). Or your home browser history either (NSFHB). You have been warned. This video.

 

More confused than before, I searched for other animal bacula. (Don't. This search term brings up some software thing. And occasionally a bad spelling of a blacksploitation dracula film, Blacula. Search for baculum: it leads to many more relevant pictures).

 

First I had to pause to join in and marvel at the many sensible museum types enjoying the wonder that is the walrus baculum. (30 inches? But... you know, walruses are quite flabby? Does all 30 inches go in? Or just the tip and the rest is to cope with the walrus lifestyle choices? Bacula raise so many questions.)

 

Second, I found the, frankly terrifying black and white illustration of other animal bacula.

 

On the left, shaped like a ten fingered fenland Barbie arm are the American ground squirrel bacula. On the right, the Neptune's trident bacula of rice rats. They raise many many more questions than they answer, and have left me even more confused. Perhaps this is like the kangaroo forked penis to impregnate two of the female kangaroo's three vaginas? (Trying to find a good link to this led me to penile subincision... this really isn't a subject to search for the squeamish).

 

I searched around the image sources for the articles that would explain why bacula are so darned weird. National Geographic has an article on bacula and what they are for. The article is fairly long, examines a number of studies (including a link to human penile ossification, explaining that humans lack this bone except in a "few very, very scary cases"). It concludes with the basic message "what are bacula for? Dunno. <Shrug>." 

 

Feeling undefeated yet, I read a google translation of a German language "walrus skull and baculum" article that ends in an "ode to the oosik", as well as numerous other articles that allowed me to feel my bafflement had good company.

 

One final attempt to understand led me back to the trusty database of the Oxford University Museum of Natural History. I searched to find what bacula they had (and found that os penis was a more trusty search term). There were 9 hits, "one" of which is three walrus bacula, acquired via the Ashmolean Museum, taken from specimens of "sex unknown". There is also a penis in spirit taken from a harbor seal of sex unknown (though I think I could have a good guess). And, just when I was getting cocky about this, I noticed there is also a glans penis in spirit of a spotted hyaena of "sex unknown", which, if you know about hyenas, I think is fair enough, especially if it was collected hundreds of years ago.

 

So, my conclusion is that the more I learn, the more confused I become, and the more weird the world is. If anyone can enlighten me, please please get in touch. I am becoming concerned about the diversions that my searches are taking me on*.

 

 

*This reminds me of the time when my parents wanted to buy new PVC guttering, so searched for "PVC" and "gutter", and ended up spending three hours following every porn link they found and infecting their computer with all sorts of viruses. My mum then rang me at work. "You work on computers and the internet don't you?". "Yes mum". "But it's filled with PORN!". It took a lot of time to explain that this isn't what my job involved.

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