The weirdest things we learned this week: ladies dueling topless and pseudopenis birth canals

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Reality: Women when removed off their tops prior to dueling to prevent infection

By Sophie Bushwick

In August 1892, in Verduz, Lichtenstein, Princess Pauline Metternich and the Countess Kielmannsegg disagreed over flower plans for a show. They chose the only method to solve their argument was with bloodshed.

This might look like an unimportant reason for a possibly fatal sword battle, however at the time, males frequently dueled over likewise shallow matters. Sure, they contested honor and political distinctions from time to time. Nevertheless, they likewise clashed over dislike of one another’s clothes, who was a much better scholar of Greek and Latin, and whose estate had more birds.

This was not the very first battle in between ladies—so-called petticoat battles had actually gone on for centuries. In 1552, 2 Neapolitan noblewomen battled with several weapons, wielding lances on armored horses prior to carrying on to maces and guards, and lastly swords. In 17th-century Bordeaux, France, 2 siblings dueled over whose other half was much better and one wound up eliminating the other with a slingshot. The very first taped English battle in between ladies didn’t happen up until 1792 (when Mrs. Elphinstone stated Girl Almeria Braddock was 61 years of ages, opposing the latter’s claim to be less than 30, Braddock had no option however to challenge her).

Nevertheless, our 1892 clash sticks out from the history of petticoat battles since it was the very first “emancipated” one: All individuals were female, consisting of the contenders, their seconds, and the organizer. That organizer, the Baroness Lubinska, had a degree in medication—and she understood that small injuries can end up being major when swords or bullets drive clothes into the injury, triggering infections. To prevent this, she recommended that the individuals strip to the waist prior to baring steel.

At the time, bacterium theory was reasonably brand-new—it was just in 1870 that Joseph Lister, “the father of antiseptic surgery,” recommended that sterilized conditions may avoid infections. (In spite of pushback from the facility, he originated techniques like hand-washing and sanitizing instruments prior to beginning to cut.) Nevertheless, individuals had actually understood for a while that getting particles into injuries is a dish for catastrophe. In reality, the baroness’ tip had a precedent: In 1806’s “Naked Duel,” Member of Parliament and previous army cosmetic surgeon Humphrey Howarth disrobed to prevent infection prior to getting his handgun, and technically, his tactic prospered: His challenger declined to engage with a naked contender.

Since the 1892 engagement was an emancipated battle, no males existed. So the contenders disrobed and started. Initially the princess hurt the countess’s nose, then the countess pierced the princess’s shoulder. Since this was a battle to the very first blood, the princess won the encounter. And neither fighter’s injuries eliminated them.

Reality: Hyenas offer birth through their clitorises

By Sara Chodosh

Found hyenas are among the extremely couple of animals in the world to sport a pseudo-penis, and theirs is the pseudo-penis-est of them all. Whereas some other mammals—like squirrel monkeys, binturong, and lemurs—have what is basically a huge clitoris, hyena pseudo-penises are multi-functional. They simply don’t use theirs to mate, they also use it to pee and give birth.

I actually knew all of this before researching this week’s fact. What I didn’t know is all of the practicalities that come as a result of having an extremely long clitoris.

See, hyenas have gotten a bad rap for being creepy, gross scavengers—I’m lookin’ at you, The Lion King— but the reality is that they’re amazing creatures. They don’t even scavenge for most of their food. And whereas lions somehow manage to have a society where females do all the work while the males still get to have sex with whoever they want, hyenas have evolved a truly matriarchal society, all because of their clitoris. Since they have no vaginal opening like most mammals do, sex requires the female’s cooperation. That means male hyenas have to woo any female they want to mate with, and so they invest a lot of time developing relationships with the ladies in their pack.

Of course, the females still do most of the work. But at least in hyena society when they cooperate in hunting and child-rearing they also get to retain their power.

Fact: This scientists sought to better understand animals by eating them all

By Rachel Feltman

William Buckland was no slouch: the English theologen was also a geologist and paleontologist. He wrote the first full account of a fossil dinosaur, which he named Megalosaurus. His work proved that Kirkdale Cave had been a prehistoric hyena den, for which he was awarded the Copley Medal.

But his wikipedia has a section labeled “known eccentricities” which is always a great sign. For starters, he insisted on wearing an academic gown while doing field work and apparently sometimes lectured outdoors on horseback. He also owned a table inlaid with fossilized dinosaur poop.

He also, along with his son Frank, wanted to eat his way through the animal kingdom. And not just because he was an adventurous eater (though he definitely was—he once had a zoo dig up a recently deceased panther so he could try a couple of steaks). He was also a champion of zoöphagy: the study of animals through their consumption. In one rather famous (and perhaps apocryphal) tale, this voracious appetite for knowledge led Buckland to commit an act of cannibalism that… somehow manages to be even more gross than you’d expect. Listen to this week’s podcast to find out more.

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