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They say the gesture allows a bug named Cytomegalovirus, which is dangerous in pregnancy, to be passed from man to woman to give her time to build up protection against it.The bug is found in saliva and normally causes no problems. But it can be extremely dangerous if caught while pregnant and can kill unborn babies or cause birth defects.Writing in the journal Medical Hypotheses, researcher Dr Colin Hendrie from the University of Leeds, said: "Female inoculation with a specific male's cytomegalovirus is most efficiently achieved through mouth-to-mouth contact and saliva exchange, particularly where the flow of saliva is from the male to the typically shorter female."
The experiments showed this fecal armor could successfully repel predators. Often the predators did not even investigate the potential meals, presumably because the beetles fooled them into believing they were just turds.
A group of University of Kansas researchers working with Chinese colleagues have discovered a venomous, birdlike raptor that thrived some 128 million years ago in China. This is the first report of venom in the lineage that leads to modern birds."This thing is a venomous bird for all intents and purposes," said Larry Martin, KU professor and curator of vertebrate paleontology at the Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Institute. "It was a real shock to us and we made a special trip to China to work on this."
If ever there was a story that illustrated the lengths a male will go to have sex, it is this. Male Muscovy ducks have a penis up to 40 centimetres long – almost half the length of their body – but that's just one of the twists and turns in the story of how female and male ducks try to outsmart each other.A female Muscovy duck chooses a mate based on her assessment of his courtship and plumage. But rejected males don't give up easily, and can force copulation on unwilling females. The long, flexible penis helps them do so.So females have evolved to wrest back control of copulation, says Patricia Brennan at Yale University. "The males and females become locked in this arms race, each trying to dominate the outcome. It's fascinating to find such a clear and obvious example of sexual conflict."...Brennan's team also timed the male's penis eversion, which took a mere one-third of a second – around 60 times faster than was previously thought (see video above). "This definitely gives the males a mechanism by which they can copulate," says Brennan, who was taken aback by the speed. "To be totally honest, I'm still in shock," she says.