Sex-crazed-beastous penis worms weren’t yours to lose

Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET Originally published 11 May 2009 It’s no surprise that humans have long since freed their love hearts from a chains of sex and replaced it with a looser set…

Sex-crazed-beastous penis worms weren't yours to lose

Video screenshot by Bonnie Burton/CNET

Originally published 11 May 2009

It’s no surprise that humans have long since freed their love hearts from a chains of sex and replaced it with a looser set of friendship chains. But it’s a bit of a shock that when we were making our first connections to other species, those were broken-hearted undomesticated “penis worms.”

Researchers analyzing what appeared to be a species of penis worm named muckworms, say there’s at least some animal evidence that these worm-like, roundish creatures at first showed no interest in females and were willing to trade sex for food.

Previously, researchers found similar worms in mouse burrows and living in insects’ stomachs, suggesting they are not natives to the Madagascar region, where they were originally named.

But this new study, published in the latest edition of the journal Biology Letters, analyzes fossil and eggs in the Madagascar acrobatic moss worm. It found no evidence of natural mating between the muckworms and other animals.

“We have to feel the irony in that the name is [ideologically] understandable,” James Worsley of the University of Dundee said in a statement. “You have to look at the fact that they came from mammals and became primitive worms, whereas so many species around us have these wonderfully complex alliances with other insects, being beneficial and all the rest. It’s a really good comparison.”

Of course, the origins of animals and their social relationships are far from clear, and there is still no certainty that the first animals have some element of sex, even the male of them, though that hasn’t stopped porn producers and blokes from often hiding their hefty specimens under blankets.

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