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Planet Earth

Women's Stockings Used to Measure Whales' Sex Drive

DiscoblogBy Brett IsraelOctober 28, 2009 9:49 PM


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To see if a whale's libido is going full-throttle, grab a pair of nylons and head to the ocean, reports the New Scientist:

For the first time, testosterone and progesterone—two key hormones that signal whether whales are pregnant, lactating or in the mood to mate—have been extracted from whales' lung mucus, captured in nylon stockings dangled from a pole over their blowholes as they surface to breathe.

This method could allow scientists to study whales without having to slaughter them, and could be used to simply give them a pregnancy test to try to learn why some species aren't breeding, say the authors of the study. Related Content: Discoblog: Japanese Whaling Redux: American Scientists Say Slaughter Was Unnecessary Discoblog: Is Bleaching Next? Whales Look at Teeth When Picking Mates Discoblog: Detectors Catch Whales Swimming Near New York City

Image: flickr / percita

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