One would hope that they didn't investigate the problem in water birds as that could have been answered with the famous "shrinkage" episode of Seinfeld. Thankfully they looked at land birds.
Apparently birds have normally developing penises as early embryos, but only have rudimentary organs as adults. This study in the Journal of Current Biology shows that these birds initiate a genetic "programme" during development that stops the budding penises from growing.
The loss of the organ could have given hens more control over reproduction (they could have saved money by asking a married human).
According to the report:
One of the most puzzling events in evolution is the reduction and loss of the phallus in birds. All birds reproduce by internal fertilization, but only ∼3% of birds have retained a phallus capable of intromission. A number of hypotheses have been proposed for the evolutionary mechanisms that drove phallus reduction; however, the underlying developmental mechanisms are unknown.Heard enough? Here's the real point:
This money was awarded by the federal government in 2009 and it recently expired. The question is just why in the hell was this paid for by taxpayer money? Are there idiots running this country? Our national debt is approaching $17 Trillion dollars and we are researching Snail Sex , Duck Ding-Dongs, Getting Lucky via the internet and now Bird Shrinkage!
This is not an Obama practice either. The Government has been wasting taxpayer dollars on projects such as this for years. The sad part is that this all may be important scientific research but that's what the private sector is supposed to be doing. why the heck are we paying for it with tax dollars in these hard times?
We are wasting money on programs like this but at the same time we are eliminating White House tours, putting national security personnel on furlough, and releasing criminal illegal immigrants back onto the streets because of the sequester...what am I missing?