Total Pageviews

Sunday, December 4, 2011

You wish penises could do that...worm locomotion 101

So I've mentioned that earthworms are kind of like a penis...but have I mentioned that they are, in fact, COOLER than a penis? Sure, sure, penises are great for getting stiff and inseminating some fine females, but they just aren't as dynamic as earthworms. Yes, they can engorge with blood and get inflated and all...but can they crawl and burrow using wave-like muscular contraction and specialized segments? If you know a penis that does, I might go see a doctor...

File:Earthworm on stone.jpg
It's ok if you are jealous of their sexy design

Earthworms are surprisingly sophisticated and fancy for animals famed for being great fish bait and having nutrient rich poop. Burrowing on land isn't easy, and it's kind of weird that such squishy critter can live meters below the ground and actually move around down there. I mean, when it comes to gardening, I usually give up digging after about 6 inches... I ain't breaking my back for no petunias.

Here is a vid I took of an earthworm burrowing for your viewing pleasure

As you can see, worms are segmented animals. And each segment is isolated into discrete compartments by muscular barriers called septa. This allows earthworms to be able to make really high local pressure in one area, without affecting the other areas of the body. It's kind of like the way a submarine is arranged into compartments with bulkheads so if one part of the sub leaks or has a Cthulu attack, the sailors can close off the bulkeads in that compartment and prevent the water or Cthulu from spreading to other parts of the sub.

Earthworms...they are kinda like if a penis and a submarine were hermaphrodites and had a dirt-eating, cocoon hatching baby that breathed through its skin

This kind of pressure isolation is kind of nice since it means the worm probably won't explode if one area of its body is under high pressure. Also, if a worm has part of its body in an awkward position, the segments that aren't twisted or bent will still function A-OK because they are not affected by the other segments.

So how do worms move anyway? Well basically they have two types of muscle, circular muscle that wraps around their circumference and longitudinal muscles which stretches down the length of their body. When they contract their circular muscles, their body thins and elongates. When their longitudinal muscles contracts, the opposite happens and they get shorter and fatter. An earthworm moves using alternating waves of  circular muscle contraction/elongation and longitudinal muscle contraction/fattening. When part of the body is  elongated it pushes the worm forward, and when it is fat it anchors the worm against the ground or burrow. Observe their magical alternating sets of waves:

I'm sorry that your penis can't crawl or burrow or thin or fatten. Natural selection can be a real bitch, and there will always be losers. Just ask the dinosaurs :( RIP.

Gone but not forgotten

Sincerely, the girl who makes you feel inadequate about your genitals,

The 'Dirty' Scientist

No comments:

Post a Comment