Pelvic Bone Important for Reproduction in dolphins, whales
It was previously considered that the pelvis is useless in dolphins and whales. But the pelvic bone still retained its important, even when the animals shifted from walking to swimming.
According to a new paper, the pelvis is not useful for walking but it is useful for successful reproduction in mammals living in water. The muscle of a male whale that controls the penis attach directly to the pelvic bone, providing the mammal larger control of its reproductive organs.
"People that really know the reproductive biology of whales and dolphins already know and have known that these pelvic bones are an anchor point for reproductive organs", study author Jim Dines told the Washington Post.
To provide new support to what vintage anatomy texts already declared, Dr. Dines and his co-author Matthew Dean, assistant professor at the University of Southern California scanned hundreds of bones and examined them based on size and shape. They compared the two data sets and they found that the bigger the penis, the bigger the pelvic bone.
Whale sex is especially enigmatic thing and it remains unobserved. As it is known that in all animals, bigger testes and penises evolve when there's more sexual competition. If the pelvis evolves to help in reproduction, then the researchers assumed that it would get bigger support for a larger reproductive organ. Researchers used 3D scanner to analyze the bones.
Many studies have shown that sexual competition supports the evolution of larger reproductive organs. But researchers have concluded that pelvises in marine mammals such as whales and dolphins have grown in size, facilitating control of increasingly large testes and penis.
The research provides the evidence that the pelvis is not useless but it is important if a male whale needs to maintain control of his growing appendage.
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