Tuesday, April 28, 2009
Many times when I've writing, I use something from the natural world as a jumping off point--or as an element in my story. Because I don't like being wrong--a particularly girly thing about me--I usually double check my facts, even if I think I know everything I could possibly want to know about a thing. I'm always amazed by how much I don't know. Take barnacles for instance...
I'm writing a story and bring up barnacles. I'm thinking I'm only going to use the clingyness of them, how they cement themselves to something then proceed to cover themselves with limestone secretions, living their lives in one spot until scraped off or eaten by stone crabs. Because that's what I know about them.
But HOLY MOLY! They gots penises that are 8 times and long as they are high! So, in human terms, that's like a 6 foot tall dude needing to lug around a 48 foot long schlong. Even given dips in too cold water or other shriveling type events, that's just johnson overkill.
The article, Barnacles Can Change Penis Size and Shape, was in Nat Geo over a year ago. Evidently, they had some trouble in the lab because "it's hard to get barnacles to extend their penises on demand..." so "the team artificially inflated the barnacles' genitalia with seawater using a custom-made penis pump built out of tubes and hypodermic syringes." This only after copies of PlayBivalve, Nekkid Stripper Oysters and unhampered access to Internet crustacean porn in their little cubicles failed to do the job.
Also, barnacles are hermaphrodites so they technically don't actually need these enormous snausages, being able to impregnate themselves just fine, but "barnacles prefer to mate with other individuals whenever possible." And I think we all can understand that just fine. Right there with you, buddy.