This is about one of the greatest unsolved mysteries of all time, so pay close attention. In the US edition of The Guardian, a British newspaper, we find this headline: Why don’t humans have a penis bone? Scientists may now know. The newspaper article already has over 1,000 comments. Here are some excerpts from the news story, with bold font added by us for emphasis:
It can be as long as a finger in a monkey. In the walrus, it can be two feet long. [Egad!] But the human male has lost it completely. And researchers are a little stumped. Known as the baculum to scientists with an interest, the penis bone is a marvel of evolution.
A marvel of evolution? Then why don’t we have one? The Guardian says:
It pops up [as it were] in mammals and primates around the world, but varies so much in terms of length and whether it is present at all, that it is described as the most diverse bone ever to exist.
Interesting description. After that the newspaper tells us:
Prompted by the extraordinary differences in penis bone length found in the animal kingdom, scientists set out to reconstruct the evolutionary story of the baculum, by tracing its appearance in mammals and primates throughout history. They found that the penis bone evolved in mammals more than 95 million years ago and was present in the first primates that emerged about 50 million years ago. From that moment on, the baculum became larger in some animals and smaller in others.
Verily, the designer works in mysterious ways. The Guardian continues:
Kit Opie who ran the study with Matilda Brindle at University College London, said that penis bone length was longer in males that engaged in what he called “prolonged intromission.” In plain English, that means that the act of penetration lasts for more than three minutes, a strategy that helps the male impregnate the female while keeping her away from competing males.
Oh — longer than three minutes. To the researchers, that explains why humans don’t have a baculum. This is their paper, published in Proceedings of the Royal Society: Postcopulatory sexual selection influences baculum evolution in primates and carnivores. You can read it online without a subscription. We’ll stay with The Guardian, which says:
In chimps, the penis bone is no longer than a human fingernail. The tininess of the bone correlates with the very short spell that the male spends mating, in the order of seven seconds.
Seven seconds? Oook, oook! Let’s read on:
Humans may have lost their penis bones when monogamy emerged as the dominant reproductive strategy during the time of Homo erectus about 1.9 million years ago, the scientists believe. In monogamous relationships, the male does not need to spend a long time penetrating the female, because she is not likely to be leapt upon by other amorous males. That, at least, is the theory.
Or perhaps the baculum was removed removed because of the disobedience of Adam & Eve. Anyway, it explains the divinely ordained state of matrimony. Another excerpt:
“We think that is when the human baculum would have disappeared because the mating system changed at that point,” Opie said. “This may have been the final nail in the coffin for the already diminished baculum, which was then lost in ancestral humans.” … “With the reduced competition for mates, you are less likely to need a baculum,” he added.
Well, dear reader, as we contemplate the absence of the baculum in humans from the creationist point of view, it’s clear that we ain’t no kin to monkeys — or to any other mammals. However, one might question the wisdom of the intelligent designer — blessed be he! — in leaving that feature out of our otherwise splendid design.
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