Sunday, March 18, 2007

The Penis Is At Least 425 Million Years Old

I came across some old notebooks while housecleaning today, and in one of the notebooks there was mention of an ancient penis.

According to my notes of a few years ago, David Siveter of the University of Leicester had recently (back then) discovered a fossil ostrocod, or water flea, that was 425 million years old and had a penis. Now, at the time of Siveter's discovery, that particular water flea possessed the world's oldest known penis, and, for all I know, it is still the world's oldest known penis. But even if an older penis has been discovered since Siveter's pioneering work, the sheer fact that the penis is at least 425 million years old should make us think.

Among other things, it should make us understand just how conservative nature is. Once a useful thing such as a penis has evolved, nature tends to conserve it. Aerobic respiration, for instance, has been around for far longer than even the penis. One could give example after example of things that evolved long ago and which nature has conserved and repeated in one species after another with various modifications.

When we think about evolution, we most often think of change. Of course, there is reason for that. But we should also think of conservation --- the conservation of penises, eyes, jaws, aerobic respiration and nearly countless other things --- for speaking strictly in a material sense, all life is connected to all other life through that conservation of things.


Mystic Wing said...

Excellent point. It is called natural SELECTION, after all, which implies that biology chooses to retain certain traits.

Still, those selected features continue to evolve, don't they? Today's penis doesn't look much like that of the prehistoric water flea....except perhaps in the case of Rush Limbaugh.

This is an interesting idea, though, that has certain implications for those of us who maintain that it's attachment that causes woe.

Paul said...

Interesting comments, Mystic Wing. Thank you!