Monday, February 14, 2011


On Valentines Day I bring no hearts and flowers (heart broken, flowers wilted, what else do y’all want?) but I do pose an interesting question of what might be called erotic paleontology. How did the Stegosaurus ever manage to fuck?

“Figuring out how Stegosaurus even could have mated is a prickly subject. Females were just as well-armored as males, and it is unlikely that males mounted the females from the back. A different technique was necessary. Perhaps they angled so that they faced belly to belly, some have guessed, or maybe, as suggested by Timothy Isles in a recent paper, males faced away from standing females and backed up (a rather tricky maneuver!). The simplest technique yet proposed is that the female lay down on her side and the male approached standing up, thereby avoiding all those plates and spikes. However the Stegosaurus pair accomplished the feat, though, it was most likely brief—only as long as was needed for the exchange of genetic material. All that energy and effort, from growing ornaments to impressing a prospective mate, just for a few fleeting moments to continue the life of the species.” Click here for more

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Anonymous said...

Less interesting but plausible is that they were a parthenogenetic species.

"Parthenogenesis (from the Greek, meaning virgin birth) is a form of asexual reproduction found in females, where growth and development of embryos occurs without fertilization by a male.

"Most reptiles reproduce sexually, but parthenogenesis has been observed to occur naturally in certain species of whiptail lizards, geckos, rock lizards,[2] blindsnakes, Komodo dragons and boa constrictors."

So why not some dinosaurs?

Peromyscus said...

One thing I hate is cutesy articles written for the general public about thorny topics in science. They give the impression that no one knows the answer and we can all vote on it, and the most popular answer must be the right one.

I'm not an expert on (mis-spelled) crocodilians, though I know someone who is. I haven't consulted him for this answer. I've owned various reptiles for 18 years. The general lizard penis is not a rigid rod that has to be aimed, but an organ more like a tongue. (Many reptiles have two, called hemi-penes.) Mating involves a bit of the old leg-over, but is mostly from the side, with the organ seeking the female's cloaca and taking quite some time to penetrate. Although it's difficult to imagine twenty-foot tall dinosaurs doing what my six foot iguanas do, I suspect the same type of negotiation and side-on approach with gentle aiming of the flexible penis or hemi-penis is the way they got it done.

Giving the impression that a human-male missionary-position stab at a vagina is the reference option and couldn't be done for a quadruped when the females have scales on their back is misleading.

stu said...

i can remember 2 palaeontologists giving a demo on tv,it involved lots of leg over (no pun intended) movements as you have to take account of large tails as well as spikes & plates.they ended up facing away from each other bent over with their bums pressed together,like dogs really.a very complex process but i presume they have a mating season so it`s only once a year.hmm sounds familiar.