Using pneumatic pistons and servos to power robots makes them fast and strong, but also bulky and extremely heavy. No one is going to mistake ATLAS for a real human being. To eventually create humanoid-looking robots like the Terminator we need to mechanically replicate every part of the human anatomy—starting with…
As if we needed more evidence that cephalopods are on the verge of a global uprising that will end in humanity’s destruction, our favorite tentacled invertebrates appear to have an insane visual system that allows them to perceive color despite being technically colorblind. This, along with distributed brains and the…
It’s a well-known fact that the cadavers of adult men were utilized in medical research and for educational purposes in the 18th and 19th centuries. However, a new anthropological study from the University of Cambridge offers fascinating details about another common, but poorly-documented, area of human medical…
Just in time for Halloween, University of Glasgow medical student Mike McCormick released diagrams of the female and male reproductive systems made out of all the kinds of candy I hated to get when I went trick-or-treating as a kid.
The tuatara isn’t actually a lizard. It’s the last survivor of a 250 million year old group of reptiles that mostly went extinct with the dinosaurs. It doesn’t have a penis, and ironically, that’s made it a linchpin for understanding how penises evolved in vertebrates.
The human hand is a marvelous evolutionary invention: it can tie knots, tap out blog posts, wield tools and wire circuit boards. But how did we get these hands, with their long, dextrous fingers and conveniently opposable thumbs? It’s likely that tool-grasping played a role, but according to one evolutionary…
Howler monkeys are loud. (If you doubt me, just click on the video and listen.) They can bring on the noise because they have a built-in amplifier: a huge cup-shaped throat bone that resonates to their song. But a study up in today’s Current Biology suggests that the males with the biggest voices also have the…
A couple of months ago, the Twitter hashtag #JunkOff got biologists to post photos that displayed the extravagant weirdness of plant and animal genitalia. Yesterday, evolutionary geneticist Tom Houslay dared them to write about what animals actually do with their junk.
The Ig Nobel awards ceremony is a marvelous spectacle encrusted with tradition. But if you really want to know how the winners did their work and why, you need to go to the Ig informal lectures, held at MIT the Saturday after the awards.
Countdown to Life: The Extraordinary Making of You, a new BBC series focused on how our prenatal development shapes our lives, has brought new attention to a group of seemingly sex-swapping people in the Dominican Republic.
Some mammals have a dangerous-looking penis because their glans is covered in spines. In a few cases, we know why they’re there (typically, to induce ovulation during copulation). But in many other species, the purpose of the spiky bits is something of a mystery.
People following biologists on Twitter got a bit of a surprise this morning: their feed is full of genitals. They can blame Anne Hilborn (@AnneWHilborn) and a few of her colleagues at the Department of Fish and Wildlife Conservation at Virginia Tech.
Technically, the cervix is the bottom chunk of the uterus, a circular plug-like mass of tissue dividing the uterine space from the vagina. But where most of the uterine wall is made of smooth muscle, up to 90% of the cervix is built of stiff and unyielding connective tissue. At least, it’s stiff most of the time.
If you’ve ever watched a pair of dogs have sex, you’ve probably noticed something odd happen partway through the act. At first, the male grips the female’s back and humps away–nothing unusual about it. But then he dismounts and turns to face away from his mate, with his penis still stuck inside her.
We’ve seen it in study after study: men worry about what their penis looks like. Is it too short? Too long? Too thin? Is the glans too fat? Will that birthmark be a deal breaker? Relax. A study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine last month suggests that women don’t really notice those details.
On July 9th of this year, divers off the coast of Turkey ran across an enormous lump of gelatinous goo which turned out to be one of the largest squid egg masses ever found. That inspired science writer and squid expert Danna Staaf to make this video explaining how all that goo fit inside a much smaller mother squid.
A new and surprising component of human hair has just been discovered, according to research recently presented at the annual meeting of the American Crystallographic Association. Remarkably, it’s a discovery that could lead to improved hair products.
Not one, not two, but four pelvic floor exercise devices are hitting the market to encourage women to do their Kegels. Rose Eleveth talks to their creators about their mission to help strengthen hidden (but important) muscles and asks whether the process really needs to be gamified. Check out the article at Refinery…
You already know that a penis has arteries to bring blood to its erectile tissues, and veins that take the blood away again when it returns to its normal flaccid state. You may not know that there’s another set of vessels tucked under its skin. We just got our first good look at them.