Koalas’ sex secret: An organ in the throat, if you know what we mean
You know how the larynx (a.k.a. voice box) is where sounds come from? (Apparently scientists don’t count the butt as a noisemaking organ. TOOT!) Koalas were recently discovered to be the second mammal EVER to use another organ to make sounds: their pharynx. Slate has dubbed these wrinkly skin-folds “a newfound sex organ,” which seems a little misleading, since koalas aren’t running around rubbing their pharynxes together. But don’t worry — koalas are DEFinitely using their pharynx to get laid.
See, male koalas bellow seductively (like Barry White, as Mother Nature Network points out) to convince lady-koalas to bone them. The deeper the bellow, the better chance a male koala has at beating out his competition. (He can also just fight another male, but that allows no parallels to singing-competition reality shows.)
Slate explains koalas’ sexy throat-folds:
They have developed “velar vascular folds” that run along an opening between the nasal and oral parts of the pharynx. Though normally wrinkled up, these folds can be pulled taut when a koala breathes in, allowing sounds as low as 9.8 hertz.
Normally wrinkled but pulled tight when a lady’s around? Some things are universal, I guess.
The bellows, which sound like a deep gurgling purr or a forced snore, are extremely important for male koalas.
Yep, nothing sexier than snoring or gargling, except maybe diarrhea or nails on a chalkboard. Nice work, koalas.