Old Wives' Tales
Radio & TV
Toxin du jour
Claim: Photograph shows a whale penis.
Example: [Collected on the Internet, 2003]
Origins: This bit of Internet insanity has one key point running against it: it's not a photograph of a blue whale.
The star of this celebrated picture is a
In contrast, blue whales can grow to be
The whale shark (like all sharks) lacks a penis, so the circled item in the photo above is not that anatomical item, no matter what it looks like. (Male sharks perform their part of the mating process with the aid of their two claspers, rod-like appendages of their pelvic fins that are rotated and inserted into the female's cloaca at mating time.)
As to what the item hanging down is, the best guess from folks who study sharks has it that part of a female shark's intestines extruded through her cloaca, probably because of the ropes cutting into her.
Regarding how much sperm a blue whale ejaculates, we've yet to encounter the researcher who would admit having studied this. Ergo, the
Barbara "whale rider" Mikkelson
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