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Researchers Study Dolphins’ Genitals, Find ‘Remarkable’ Similarities to Humans

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After studying dolphins’ anatomy up close, scientists noted the remarkable similarity between the clitorises of female dolphins and human women.

Dolphins are known to be highly sexualized creatures. They have been observed using live eels to masturbate in a recent study and they are also know to be one of the few mammals besides humans that have sex for pleasure and social bonding rather than just reproduction. Yet, according to Vice Motherboard, researchers have found another curious thing about the sex life of dolphins – their clits look very similar to those of humans.

READ MORE: Dolphins the Gang Rapists? How Cute Loving Creatures Engage in Wild Sex

Patricia Brennan, an assistant professor of biology and research associate Dara Orbach, scientists from Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts, autopsied 11 female dolphins that died of natural causes, dissected their reproductive organs, created 3D tomography (CT) scans of their vaginas, and fixed the tissue in paraffin wax so they could examine their structures.

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The researchers found that like humans, dolphins have a clitoral hood and two areas of extensive erectile tissue that merge into a single body. The clitoral hood is thin and folded like humans’, so the researchers have suggested that dolphins’ clits get enlarged, engorged and more sensitive when aroused. The dolphins might be using the stimulation of clitoris for pleasure – just the same as humans do.

"In dolphins, the clitoris is positioned at the entrance of the vaginal opening and in direct contact with the penis during copulation, unlike the external position of the clitoris in humans," Orbach said in a press release.

That means dolphins’ clits are positioned in a slightly different spot, making it easily stimulated while mating with male dolphins, who, evolutionally,  don’t have hands to aid themselves.

“Very little is known about female reproductive morphology in most wild vertebrate species," Orbach said. "This research provides a comparative framework to explore other functions of sex that may not be unique to humans. We are on the precipice of a deeper understanding of the relationship between form and function of genitalia.”

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