back to article Size does matter, chaps: Oversized todgers an evolutionary handicap

A study published by Nature this month suggests less is more when it comes to male genitals and species survival. Sexual dimorphism – the differences between males and females – usually helps males attract mates. Peacocks are a good example of where a male expends a lot of energy producing plumage to catch the eye of a passing …

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  1. Aaiieeee
    Mushroom

    Bigger may be better in the short term

    I suspect on the whole people are concerned about the future of the species only upto the point when they (or a generation or so of dependants) will no longer be a part of it. The state of humanity in 50,000 years time isnt that high up on my circle of concern.

    Therefore, school playground talk is still the way of it. Woe is me :(

    1. Korev Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Bigger may be better in the short term

      Some think that people like that are dicks... At least you had the balls to say it

  2. Valerion

    I knew it!

    That's my best excuse yet to the ladies - I'm highly evolved!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I knew it!

      I knew it! I'm a survival expert!

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Thumb Up

        Re: I knew it!

        "I knew it! I'm a survival expert!"

        You are Bare Grylls and ICM£5

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Medium-sized todger guy here... it is good to know guys with big todgers are on their way out.

    Leaves more ladies for me and to admire my todger then.

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge
      Trollface

      And in.

      And out.

      And in.

      ...

    2. Tigra 07 Silver badge
      Pint

      RE: AC

      Probably doesn't help that their humongous "anchor" drags downwards, making them slower to predators.

      1. This post has been deleted by its author

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: RE: AC

          couldn't run piss down hill, it didn't know which way to go and just pooled around him,

          needed an excuse, so blamed the Dr.

      2. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

        Re: RE: AC

        I keep tripping over mine.

        Nightmare.

        I've been eaten by 3 lions this week already and it's not even Friday.

        God I hate Fridays.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Medium-sized todger guy here

      > it is good to know guys with big todgers are on their way [to passing] out.

      It's the lack of blood to the rest of the body that's the issue.

  4. Tigra 07 Silver badge
    Facepalm

    There's another downside that it's hard to get trousers to fit.

    Plus it's a bit risky to go to the park when there might be children there if it's obvious you have an extra leg...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      If your member is really that big then staying away from parks and schools is well advised, if you don't want to be accused of sexual misconduct that is.

      Regards,

      mumsnet

    2. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
      Happy

      I don't find the trouser fitting an issue at all. I've simply had my left leg amputated. As long as I keep taking the Viagra, I can put a boot on the end and walk on it.

      If I run out, I end up walking in circles though...

      It's Buster Gonad I feel sorry for.

    3. Antron Argaiv Silver badge
      Coat

      However, thankfully they have started to mount at least one urinal lower, so those more "gifted" among us don't have to get the end wet.

      1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge
        Joke

        "However, thankfully they have started to mount at least one urinal lower, so those more "gifted" among us don't have to get the end wet."

        Those of us more evolutionarily advanced are hoping for urinals mounted a bit higher so it's not such a long shot to hit :-)

      2. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

        Two [blokes] on a bridge, pissing off the side.

        After a bit:

        "Water's cold."

        "Yeah. And deep."

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Cock size

    Apparently the human penis is much larger than would be expected from a comparison with other primates. There are at least three possible reasons for this: (1) it's functional (more effective impregnation); (2) it's for show, like a peacock's tail; or (3) it's a side-effect: the gene for penis size also determines something else of evolutionary importance, perhaps in women rather than men. I think reason 1 seems implausible owing to the lack of evidence for a functional advantage. The other two reasons both seem superficially plausible, to me at least.

    1. Christoph Silver badge

      Re: Cock size

      "Apparently the human penis is much larger than would be expected from a comparison with other primates."

      Jack Cohen (the reproductive biologist) has commented that even if King Kong was built in proportion, there would still not have been a smile on Fay Wray's face.

      So if anyone is bragging that he's built like a gorilla, it's his poor girlfriend you should feel sorry for.

      1. Dr Dan Holdsworth Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: Cock size

        Yes, the phrase "hung like a gorilla" is a complement in most countries, except for Central Africa and amongst zoo keepers, who all know that the fully erect member of an adult male gorilla is a whopping three centimetres in length.

        In other words, a male gorilla has the bare minimum of wedding tackle needed to get female gorillas pregnant. Gorillas also have, relative to their size and relative to other primates, absolutely tiny testicles.

        This leads us on to the human anatomy. We are physically much smaller than gorillas, but of all apes have far and away the largest penises. This is clearly adaptive, or we would not be so hugely endowed. Genitals change and evolve very quickly indeed according to selective pressures, so it may be reasonable to assume that H. sapiens is unusual not only amongst apes, but also amongst hominids as a group.

        Humans are the only remaining hominid, but are known to have regularly hybridised with other near-human species. Perhaps then this is the answer as to how we have survived and other species have fallen by the wayside: human males are simply unusually well-endowed as hominids go and thus out-compete the males of other species for females...

        1. I ain't Spartacus Gold badge
          Devil

          Re: Cock size

          Could it be that wearing glow-in-the-dark condoms and staging mock lightsabre fights somehow confers an evolutionary advantage?

        2. Richard Parkin

          “Humans are the only remaining hominid”

          “Humans are the only remaining hominid”. You mean hominin I think,

          1. Teiwaz Silver badge

            Re: “Humans are the only remaining hominid”

            Ad hominem then>

        3. DougS Silver badge

          @Dr Dan

          Just because homo sapiens have bigger penises than our evolutionary ancestors doesn't mean it is a survival trait. It might have been, but could have stopped being so somewhere along the way during the 10 million or so years since we branched off the last common ancestor with modern day primates.

          Before homo sapiens began wearing clothing, each man's penis size would have been known by everyone else in the group, so it would be possible for females to select upon - if indeed they had much say. It seems more likely to me that bringing home the bacon (or mastadon) or fending off the saber toothed tiger is what really made the cavewomen swoon.

          1. eldakka Silver badge

            Re: @Dr Dan

            Just because homo sapiens have bigger penises than our evolutionary ancestors doesn't mean it is a survival trait. It might have been, but could have stopped being so somewhere along the way during the 10 million or so years since we branched off the last common ancestor with modern day primates.

            Before homo sapiens began wearing clothing, each man's penis size would have been known by everyone else in the group, so it would be possible for females to select upon - if indeed they had much say. It seems more likely to me that bringing home the bacon (or mastadon) or fending off the saber toothed tiger is what really made the cavewomen swoon.

            Just like with human male penis size compared to apes, the same situation occurs with respect to human female breast size being (typically) much larger than apes.

            The theory I have heard for this latter is that apart from humans, most mammals - even apes - still have a bent (as opposed to fully upright) posture if not entirely 4-legged. And in this physical situation, the most obvious sexually attractive feature are the buttocks.

            Therefore, as hominids developed an upright stance, the buttocks became less visible and the human female breast grew bigger to appear buttock-like. Breast cleavage and buttock cleavage look quite similar.

            Therefore, if the above theory holds any sort of water, the same could be true for males with respect to the penis. As you rightly pointed out, clothing and covering of the genital regions in hominids is a tiny, tiny part of our evolution history since becoming upright. Therefore as we developed a more upright stance, females visible sexual attributes moved from the buttocks to the breasts, and the male penis became more prominent, more visible, and perhaps likewise grew to become the primary visible sexual attribute.

            Of course, this could all just be shit.

          2. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

            Re: @Dr Dan

            > Before homo sapiens began wearing clothing

            Worth pointing out that only a subset of homo sapiens wore clothes up until the last hundred years or so.

            For example, the bulk of indigenous Africans wore no clothes (just the traditional fat+soil (eg ochre)) until well after WWI. Likewise, the bulk of indigenous Australians wore no clothes (just the traditional charcoal+fat) until the late 1800s.

            What "we" (average typical on this wsite) regard as normal, both now and historical, is far from the global normal. Merely the most likely to write things down & then to retain same (and stay consistent).

        4. 's water music Silver badge
          Coat

          Re: Cock size

          Genitals change and evolve very quickly indeed according to selective pressures

          stop, please

        5. DiViDeD Silver badge
          Unhappy

          Re: Cock size

          "the fully erect member of an adult male gorilla is a whopping three centimetres in length"

          Lucky bugger!

        6. eldakka Silver badge

          Re: Cock size

          > Yes, the phrase "hung like a gorilla" is a complement in most countries, except for Central Africa and amongst zoo keepers, who all know that the fully erect member of an adult male gorilla is a whopping three centimetres in length.

          I've never actually heard before the phrase "hung like a gorilla" before.

          I've always heard - and used - "hung like a horse", or "hung like a donkey".

          I have heard, and used, "built like a gorilla", in the context of physique - i.e. muscles, chest, physical strength. Never heard of it being used as an allegory for a person's penis size.

        7. Richard Pennington 1

          Re: Cock size

          Unintentionally appropriate Freudian comment from El Reg:

          "Click here to disable post shrinking".

          1. Unicornpiss Silver badge
            Coat

            Re: Cock size

            "Click here to disable post shrinking".

            It always shrinks Post. If it shrinks Pre or During, that's when you have something to worry about..

        8. W.S.Gosset Bronze badge

          Re: Cock size

          Yeah, sexual selection is enormously faster than Darwin's "natural"/survival selection.

          Hominid females (by "species" ' definition, non-human females can not breed with humans) have chosen consistently for millennia where semi-autistic societies exist. Where more-Social societies exist (intra-species cultural signifiers deemed more important than physical reality/sensation), you'll note the sexual selection has NOT "grown" the male penis to the same extent over the same period of time.

      2. Teiwaz Silver badge

        Re: Cock size

        So if anyone is bragging that he's built like a gorilla, it's his poor girlfriend you should feel sorry for.

        'Built like a Gorilla' made me smile - it's been a single entendre now since watching Gintama.

    2. Arthur the cat Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Cock size

      Apparently the human penis is much larger than would be expected from a comparison with other primates.

      I know a guy with a 12" penis, but he doesn't use it as a rule.

      See icon.

      1. quxinot

        Re: Cock size

        >I know a guy with a 12" penis, but he doesn't use it as a rule.<

        https://xkcd.com/532/

    3. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Cock size

      I always thought penis length was to help avoid us pissing on our toes - more of a problem in later life and when not filled with the local brewery's finest ale.

      Hence the correlation between feet and penis size.

      That could be intelligent design or evolution. After all, who wants to go out with a bloke whose toes smell of piss?

      1. adnim Silver badge

        @Jason Re: Cock size

        Depends, how big are your toes?

    4. handleoclast Silver badge

      Re: Cock size

      (2) it's for show, like a peacock's tail;

      Possibly related to sexual selection. Perhaps embodying a little of Zahavi's Handicap Principal. Especially as humans (but not other apes) lack an os penis (a penis bone, also known as a baculum*). According to Zahavi's hypothesis, humans have to advertise their health by maintaining an erection without the benefit of a structural member.

      Another hypothesis relates the size of the os penis to duration of intromission. For example, in chimps it is very small and their mating sessions typically last 7 seconds. So without a penis bone, human sex should last on the order of milliseconds. Hmmmmm. I'm sure I can do a little better than that.

      *BTW, there is a Linux backlup solution called "Bacula." Which might be (I know very little Latin) the plural of baculum. The name was probably intended to resemble Dracula, but maybe...

    5. Michael Thibault

      Re: Cock size

      "…at least three possible reasons for this: (1) it's functional (more effective impregnation); (2) it's for show, like a peacock's tail; or (3) it's a side-effect… I think reason 1 seems implausible owing to the lack of evidence for a functional advantage…"

      There is, perhaps, a distinct (4th) functional advantage you've not considered: a penis is a convenient -- you might say 'handy' -- bed-warmer, a radiator of heat. In certain states, certainly. Coupled with widely-observed diminished levels of lower-body blood circulation in women…

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't know whether to feel a little cocky about this.

    1. Inventor of the Marmite Laser Silver badge

      Willie Heckaslike

    2. Steve Evans

      If you're going to feel cocky, just don't do it in public, you'll get arrested.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm not having this, there is no way Audi and BMW drivers are highly evolved.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Err don't you think they are compensating for something?

    2. MJI Silver badge
      Devil

      But

      Gene Hunt has an Audi Quattro

      1. Roj Blake Silver badge

        Re: But

        Gene Hunt: “This is my city. And it will be a safe place for my wife and my mum to walk around in. Is that understood?”

        Detectives: “Yes, guv.”

        Gene Hunt: [Sternly] “Right. Find out who the dead woman was, find out who killed her. Do it now.”

        [He checks his watch]

        Gene Hunt: “Hold up, hold up. Do it tomorrow morning, first thing. [Brightly] Beer o’clock, gentlemen.”

      2. Unicornpiss Silver badge
        Coat

        Re: But

        "Gene Hunt has an Audi Quattro"

        What about his brother Mike?

    3. LucreLout Silver badge

      I'm not having this, there is no way Audi and BMW drivers are highly evolved.

      Anyone choosing a marque that displays 4 cock rings on their grille as a warning to other road users has clearly not thought through their choice of car.

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