Scientists Have Finally Found the Clitoris in Snakes
Scientists recently discovered the clitoris in snakes, and they’re ‘very excited’. For the 1st time, clitorises have been documented in nine different species of snakes from four families. Megan Folwell stood up a female Australian death adder (Acanthophis antarcticus), armed with a scalpel. According to a new study, snake females possess a clitoris – a previously overlooked or disregarded aspect of their anatomy. “This is quite a taboo area, female genitalia is not an easy subject to discuss sometimes, so people were happy to pretend that it didn’t exist. According to the study, female genitalia has received relatively little attention in the animal kingdom. Since, male genitalia has been the subject of more studies. It is not necessary for snakes to have one,'” said Megan Folwell. The study’s lead author and a doctoral student at the University of Adelaide.
Folwell decided to investigate the female genitalia of snakes after realizing there was a lack of research on the subject. According to her study in Proceedings of the Royal Society B published Wednesday, the organ is found in different types of snakes. Taking up most of the anterior tail region in some. There were no people looking for it, and it was hard to locate. The clitoris isn’t easy to see in some snake species,” she said. Explaining that some researchers had previously confused it with the scent glands in snakes.
Clitoris in Snakes
The existence of the clitoris in snakes has been definitively established by this study. Professor Kurt Schwenk, of the University of Connecticut’s Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, said it also provides some context for its potential use. Schwenk was not involved in this research.
The role of female reproductive organs:
During the research, Folwell carefully dissected the genitalia of nine snake species, including the common death adder. The species represented four snake families, Elapid, Viperid, Pythonidae, and Colubridae. In the study, all snakes were found to have sexual organs. This organ is called a hemiclitoris since it consists of two distinct parts. Appeared to be shaped “like two teardrops forming a love heart structure” inside the death adder, Folwell revealed. The penis of snakes and other reptiles also has a dual structure, which is what makes it known as a hemipenis.
As Folwell explained, it was unclear why snakes had clitoris, but the study suggested that the cluster of nerve endings in the hemiclitoris played a role in sexual arousal, potentially increasing the number of matings and fertilization success by creating “a sensation to the female snake during courtship and copulation.”
Additionally, Schwenk said, it might give the female snake information to decide whether to cut off the copulation to reduce reproduction chances. As a result, Schwenk says, a female is empowered to make choices. That will allow her to control when and with whom she copulates. “There has been an inclination historically to regard females of other species, well not only other species, as passive recipients of male copulatory behavior.”
Schwenk believes scientists cannot disconnect their research from the sociopolitical climate completely. Research in biological science usually focuses on male anatomy and behavior because of bias and what is easiest to observe. In an attempt to rectify this imbalance, some female biologists are taking action. As Patricia Brennan revealed last year, dolphins also have a functional clitoris, according to her study on snakes.
Rephrasing snake sex:
It may be possible that snake sex involves female stimulation and pleasure, a theory that now has new implications. Researchers like this show, however, that female animals play a much bigger role in mating than they are usually acknowledged to do. It has been believed until now that snake sex was primarily the result of coercion and the male snake forcing the female to mate, says Ms Folwell. This was because male snakes were typically slightly physically aggressive during mating while the female was more “placid”.
The finding of the clitoris allows us to begin looking at seduction and stimulation. As other ways to make the female more willing and more likely to mate. In addition, it sheds new light on snake foreplay, which has been the subject of speculation. As clitoris is located at the end of the tail, male snakes often wrap around their partners and pulse. “There is a whole bunch of behavior that may indicate that they are trying to stimulate the female.”
According to Folwell, snake scientists were surprised at the finding but also surprised since it makes sense that such a thing exists. A snake’s clitoris can be fragile and particularly small. The total length of the clitoris can be less than a millimetre in some snake species. According to prevailing beliefs, female snakes are also thought to have a smaller hemipene than male snakes, as monitor lizards do.
As a result, scientists labelled hemipenes as hemiclitores in some studies regarding intersex snakes. The discovery would not have been possible without Ms Folwell’s “fresh perspective,” according to Associate Prof Kate Sanders at the University of Adelaide. “This discovery shows how science needs diverse thinkers with diverse ideas to move forward.”