Researchers say Pelvic bones in Cetacean Could Play Major Role in Reproduction
Researchers from the University of Southern California and the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County (NHM) have proven that previous assumptions about the cetacean (whale and dolphin) pelvic bones were wrong.
Earlier, the researchers presumed that the pelvic bones in whales and dolphins have passed on to this generation of cetaceans. They also believed that these pelvic bones are now functionless and will disappear from them in millions of years from now.
The researchers now claim that pelvic bones certainly have a purpose and are not functionless. They say that pelvic bones in cetaceans are specially targeted, by selection, for mating.
Matthew Dean, Assistant Professor at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, and Jim Dines, collections manager of mammalogy at NHM, said that the muscles that control the penis of cetacean are attached to the creature's pelvic bones.
Therefore, they wanted to find out whether the pelvic bones could be evolutionarily advantageous by impacting the overall amount of control an individual creature has with its penis.
Sources reported that both the researchers spent almost four years on examining the pelvic bones of whales and dolphins. They studied the creatures using a 3D laser scanner that helped them to view and study the shape and size of the samples in detail.
During their study, the researchers compared the relative sizes of the pelvic bones with the testis. They found that the bigger the testis the larger was the relative pelvic bone of the creature. They said that the mating scenario was competitive in which single female mates with many males. Therefore, they believed that competitive situation prompted the development of larger pelvic bones.
On the other hand, Dean and Dines also compared the testis size of the creatures with the size of their ribs and they found that there was no corresponding increase as it was in the previous comparison with pelvic bones.
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