I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: Humans are weird. They want to know about weird things. Like if other animals fart. In fact, the burning desire to know about animal farts was so strong, there was a hashtag – #DoesItFart – trending a few weeks ago. Said hashtag inspired an open-access Google Doc with a list of animals and input from scientists about whether listed animal has been documented to fart.
But just because farts make humans giggle like middle-schoolers doesn’t mean there’s no merit in studying them. In fact, it can yield important information about diet, digestion, and methane emissions for different species of animals.
Back in my early blogging days, I wrote about a new species of monkey that had just been described. The defining feature? The monkeys’ unique penis. In this scenario, the discovery of the unique penis was by happenstance. But make no mistake, there are many, many scientists out there dedicating their life’s work to the study of animal genitalia. Godspeed to them.
What other weird things do human scientists study?
How about the pain intensity of insect stings? Entomologist and American hero Justin Schmidt submitted himself to being stung by 83 different insects in order to rank the how painful they are. The result is the Schmidt Sting Pain Index. He even wrote a book about conducting the research – The Sting of the Wild: The Story of the Man Who Got Stung for Science. If the novelty of the research alone hasn’t piqued your interest enough to seek out this list, then maybe the wonderfully flowery prose that are Schmidt’s descriptions of the pain will draw you in: Artistic wasp – Parachartergus fraternus “Pure, then messy, then corrosive. Love and marriage followed by divorce.”
See? Something for everyone.
In 2004 two University of California, San Diego psychologists, Michael Roy and Nicholas Christenfeld, published the results of their study showing that dogs resemble their owners. And if you like, “Do Dogs Resemble Their Owners?” then you won’t want to miss the riveting sequel, “Dogs Still Do Resemble Their Owners,” published a year later. Now you have all the science you’ll need to confidently inform someone when they look like their dog.
As for the question I’m sure you’ve all been asking yourselves since the beginning of this blog – Do I fart? A lady croc never tells!
Share out, readers! What is the weirdest scientific study you’ve heard of? Tweet it to me @CandidCroc!