After I wrote A Naughty Exhibit? a friend of mine emailed me to say, “You are going, right?”
I couldn’t back down in the face of a challenge, so of course, I went.
Revealing the exhibit’s secrets was a bit more challenging than I expected. The exhibit text did not have English translations, so I took pictures and typed the text into Google Translate.
What I discovered is that it’s good to be a multicellular organism…and that we’re all looking for the same thing…Mr. (or Miss) Perfect.
Here’s a quick summary of the various exhibits and a glimpse of my favorite part (it was interactive!):
Just for fun? This part of the exhibit looks at the reasons for sex. “Let’s face it,” the display says, “sex is expensive, complicated, and involves high costs biologically. So why do most multicellular organisms still use sexual reproduction?” It turns out there’s no easy answer. Asexual reproduction would require a lot less therapy, yet those of us who claim to be multicellular organisms opt for the It takes two to tango variety. (Maybe it is just for fun!)
Annoying obligations? A discussion of various family models…from the louse that abandons it’s children at birth to the large families that are only able to tolerate each other one day a year (and even that’s a tossup!)
Clash of the Sperm. A look at the sophisticated strategies that males have developed to secure successful reproduction (I wonder if mid-life-crises, cherry-red convertibles count?)
Experimental Sex. Perhaps being a single-celled organism isn’t such a bad idea…they reproduce by simple division, making them potentially immortal. (Who needs cloning and cryogenics?)
Sex and Crime. Watch out men…in some parts of the animal kingdom, sex involves trying not to get killed and eaten. And ladies…not all pairings in the animal world are romantic…some are downright violent. (Who knew successful reproduction was such a dangerous business?)
Here’s the sort-of risqué pictures that were on display:
What? You’ve never seen an e-coli virus in a compromising position? Well, now you have!
And of course, an exhibit on sex would not be complete without a discussion of the age old question…whose is the biggest?
These may look like pictures of bugs, but I assure you they’re not. Think of this panel as the centerfold of the animal world. So who’s the winner?
The walrus, of course (sorry guys).
Now, to my favorite part…the interactive exhibit (hey, get your mind out of the gutter).
The museum invited visitors to participate in a “wet” T-shirt contest.
Each of the “guys” in the exhibit wore a T-shirt that had been doused with a different cologne. Visitors were instructed to sniff the guys’ chests and cast a vote for their favorite scent.
Which one did I like?