"Does size matter?", We all came across this question in one form or another to the point that it became almost a synonym for the word cliché. While humans, in general, give ambiguous and often different answers to this question, ducks' response to this query is a flat out "yes". A new scientific study has revealed that, when forced to compete for females, the dominant male ducks of certain species develop a very long penis, while the weaker ones grow nothing whatsoever!

The study, which was published in the journal The Auk, found that some males from two species of ducks, the lesser scaup and the ruddy duck, handle the competition for a mate by growing colossal penises that are sometimes taller than their bodies.

Patricia Brennan, the evolutionary biologist behind the study at Mount Holyoke College, tackled this penis challenge by measuring the penis size of ducks held in monogamous pairs and then comparing it with data from other groups of ducks where the males outnumbered the females by a ratio of 2:1. The results showed that the male lesser scaups who formed male-female pairs grew normal penises, while males from the other groups responded to the fierce competition by developing extra long ones. On the other hand, the researchers discovered that only the largest ruddy ducks developed large penises, whereas smaller males grew almost no penis at all during the first year. In the second year, however, smaller male ducks housed with other males of the same species managed to grow normal-sized penises, but they only lasted for a short period of time. The scientists suggest that the smaller males likely exhibit this behavior as a tactic to avoid competition by staying out of sync with their larger rivals' reproductive cycle, a move that could ultimately increase the smaller ruddy ducks' chances of landing a mate.

Male ducks are notorious for their high-handed mating attitude towards the females, with about a third of their mating attempts involving forced penetration. As a result of this ongoing tug of war evolutionary battle, some male ducks have evolved corkscrew-shaped penises to help them browse the maze-like vaginas of females who, in turn, likely developed them as a defense mechanism to counter imposed mating.

The moral of this study? You should never google duck penises as they look horrendously scary :)

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