We size them up a lot. But for all the attention guys get for what they’re packing below the belt, it turns out we still know pretty much nada about the penis. So in the spirit of ever-growing our knowledge about sexual organs, we’ve rounded up some facts on penises. (As a guy, you’ll never look at yours the same way again.)
1. Penises used to have hard spikes.
But guys lost them before we — as homo sapiens — evolved from Neanderthals. Scientists speculate that the penile spine helped quicken the time it took for a man to get an erection, since it’s commonly found in promiscuous species like mice and monkeys.
Researchers from Stanford University in California found that we lost this molecular mechanism from our primate ancestors eons ago. All about survival, right?
2. The “seam” on a penis used to be a labia.
Remember how we all start out as female in utero? One of the remnants from a man’s few weeks as a fetal female is the “seam” on the underside of his penis. In women, that seam becomes the inner lips of the vagina. But in men, that seam encloses the urethra along the length of the penis.
3. Men can be born with two penises.
Diphallus is a rare, unfortunate medical condition that affects approximately one in five to six million men, when a man is born with two penises. Some guys might think of this as winning the lottery, but hold your horses, fellas. It’s rare that both penises are fully functional. So … womp womp.
4. There’s a species of fish that swims up penises.
When we refer to his “swimmers,” this isn’t exactly what we mean. The Candiru, native to the Amazon, has a legendary habit of attacking men who pee in the river by swimming up their urethra.
It’s still debated whether this is true or not, but a case from 1997 caused one man to undergo a two-hour urological. Have fun sleeping tonight, guys.
5. Napoleon Bonaparte’s penis was auctioned off.
Wet bet you missed this part of history class. When the French Emperor died in 1821, his doctor cut off his penis for the autopsy. Then, in 1977, the penis was sold at auction for a whopping $3,000 to a urologist in New Jersey, where he kept it for 30 years (just, why?).
Needless to say, a 156-year-old penis doesn’t hold up well over time. It was even put for up display back in 1927, and a TIME writer said it looked like a “maltreated strip of buckskin shoelace.” People have also compared it to leather, a shriveled eel, and beef jerky (thanks for forever ruining beef jerky for us).
6. The fear of “shrinkage” is real thing.
A lot of guys worry about size, and that’s pretty normal. But this is a whole new level of anxiety. Koro is an odd culture-specific syndrome for when a man is overwhelmed by the debilitating fear that his penis will shrink down to the point of disappearing altogether.
7. The English word for “penis” is still pretty new.
We’ve used plenty of euphemisms over time, but the clinical word “penis” (meaning “tail” in Latin) wasn’t adopted into the English language until the 17th century. Prior to that, a guy’s package was referred to as a “yard” or “pizzle.”
This post appeared originally on Your Tango: 7 Seriously BIZARRE Things You Never Knew About Penises