Dolphins Have Functional Clitoris Similar in Shape to Humans', Scientists Say
© Pixabay/CC0 Bottlenose dolphin swimming in the ocean
The first author of the study in question also argued that apparent “neglect in the study of female sexuality has left us with an incomplete picture of the true nature of sexual behaviours”.
Researchers in the United States have established that female dolphins have a certain organ that appears rather similar to that present in human anatomy.
Their study, published this week in the journal “Current Biology”, postulates that female bottlenose dolphins have a clitoris that “has well-developed erectile spaces, is highly sensitive to tactile stimulation, and is likely functional”.
"The dolphin clitoris has many features to suggest that it functions to provide pleasure to females," Patricia Brennan, assistant professor of biological sciences at Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts and first author of the study, said as quoted by SciTechDaily.
Noting that dolphins have sex throughout the year, "largely to establish and maintain social bonds", the researchers suggested that "clitoral stimulation seems to be important during female–female sexual interactions in common bottlenose dolphins, which rub each other’s clitorises using snouts, flippers, or flukes."
31 August 2021, 14:42 GMT
Brennan also observed that dolphins’ erectile bodies seem to be quite similar in terms of shape to erectile bodies in humans, the media outlet points out.
"Since the entire pelvis of dolphins is so different to humans, it was surprising to see how similar the shapes were," she said. "Also, the size of the nerves in the clitoris body was very surprising. Some were larger than half a millimeter in diameter."
The team is reportedly expected to continue studying the clitoris and genitalia of dolphins and other vertebrates, with researchers arguing that there’s been “little study of the clitoris and female sexual pleasure in nature”, as the media outlet puts it.
"This neglect in the study of female sexuality has left us with an incomplete picture of the true nature of sexual behaviours," Brennan declared. "Studying and understanding sexual behaviours in nature is a fundamental part of understanding the animal experience and may even have important medical applications in the future."