Snakes have clitorises, scientists reveal for the first time
With more than 10,000 nerve fibers, the clitoris has the most nerve endings in the female body and is the uppermost component of women’s orgasms. A new study reveals that some female snakes also have the clitoris as other females do.
Led by La Trobe University, the University of Adelaide, and the University of Michigan Museum of Zoology, researchers describe their completion of a first-ever anatomical description of the clitoris (hemiclitores) in female snakes.
The study was published in Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences.
In comparison to their male counterparts, female genitalia is strikingly understudied, which restricts academic understanding of sexual reproduction in vertebrates like snakes and lizards, said in the press release.
“It opens up new questions about the dynamics of snake mating and initiates new conversations about a whole other side of the story that we’ve been missing, which is the female anatomy,” Dr. Jenna Crowe-Riddell said, co-author and Postdoctoral Researcher in Neuroecology at La Trobe University.
“When (Megan Folwell, Ph.D. student researcher) asked the question, it occurred to us that scientists have never thought to do this. So that’s why we looked into some of the cells that underlie it and found red blood cells and nerves that are consistent with erectile tissue – all the hallmarks of the clitoris.”
“We’re filling in that missing spot”
The researchers underline that there has not been much research on females and suggest that this research can be a pioneer.
“When you open up an anatomy textbook and imagine you have a detailed drawing of the male genitalia, for the female genitalia, a whole part of it is missing, essentially. So we’re filling in that missing spot,” added Dr. Crowe-Riddell.
Dr. Crowe-Riddell believes the next step is to look at other snake species and how they mate, which could be through compulsion or seduction.
“Because one thing’s for sure is that the hemipenes are incredibly variable, genitalia just evolves super quickly across animals, and snakes are no exception.”
Snakes have clitorises, scientists reveal for the first time (interestingengineering.com)