“Schilthuizen whizzes between geographies and species, learning from apes, slugs, spiders. In the process he invites us on all kinds of interesting adventures, from finding ancient beetle genitals trapped in amber to examining barnacles depositing their sperm with eight-foot-long appendages.... This is a book about heterosexual sex between animals, but Schilthuizen hasn't closed the case on other kinds of sex driving animal evolution, too. Ever excited, ever open-minded, he pushes towards new frontiers.”
--Tess Taylor, Barnes and Nobles Review
“From the very first page, Menno Schilthuizen makes us both laugh and think about the bewildering genital variation in the animal kingdom. We laugh at the outrageous shapes these organs take, and think about the central issue of this book: how genital anatomy advances male and female procreation. An exhilarating and most informative read!”
—Frans de Waal, author of The Bonobo and the Atheist
“A remarkable book... succeeds in finding exactly the right tone…. Schilthuizen’s entertaining work reminds us not to take ‘the mechanics of sexual intercourse’ for granted.'"
“A provocative voyage on the ‘vast ocean of sexual function beyond the quiet backwater that we humans find ourselves in.’”
“The science of genitals is a relatively new field for biologists, who have long overlooked the evolutionary importance of species' private parts. Biologist Schilthuizen balances the silly and the serious to describe researchers' latest efforts to understand how ‘evolution has graced the animal kingdom with such a bewildering diversity of reproductive organs.’ Schilthuizen tours some of nature's weirdest inventions, such as the chicken flea penis, which is ‘actually a profusion of plates, combs, springs, and levers’ and looks like ‘an exploded grandfather clock.’”
“Rather than furiously flipping through a stack of increasingly obscure science journals, those interested now have an easily digestible text to work with, the charmingly titled, Nature’s Nether Regions, by Dutch evolutionary biologist Menno Schilthuizen. Menno’s book is a deep dive into the science of genitals, one that comes interspersed with a selection of the finest, and most scientifically-accurate, sex jokes.”
—Lex Berko, Vice’s Motherboard
“A closer look between the legs (or, in the case of the Australian velvet worm, on the head) to explore what the sex lives of various creatures can teach us about reproduction, diversity and human sexuality…. I actually missed my stop on the train this morning because I was engrossed in the chapter about duck sex.”
—Lindsay Abrams, Salon
About the Author
Menno Schilthuizen is a research scientist at the National Museum of Natural History in Leiden, the Netherlands. He has written on ecology and evolution for Science, Natural History, and other publications.
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