As the leaves turn brown, and hipsters snuggle up to watch "Riverdale" and drink their seasonal pumpkin spice lattes, it's time to ring in this year's Halloween with one of the spookiest, creepiest fields of marine science: dolphin sex.
And this time it's zombie-themed.
You may remember the crazy things revealed in that other dolphin sex study that came out this May, which concentrated on figuring out just how a dolphin penis fits into a dolphin vagina, which kind of looks like a deep-sea underwater cave slash rollercoaster slash crepe-holder slash flatworm diagram slash the genital pairing of your worst nightmares.
That study, you may remember — if, like us, you read the whole thing very closely — involved researchers making silicone molds of the dolphins' genitals and then inserting them into each other like some demented X-rated game of Lincoln logs.
Well, Wired reports, this study blew that one out of the water like a dead body in a lake that's just been filled with dynamite. (We're trying to keep the Halloween theme going here — just stick with us!)
In this new, daring experiment, the researchers are inflating the real, frozen penises and vaginas from dolphins that beach themselves across the U.S.
Because, apparently, over the past few years — while you've been returning from work, getting some takeout and marathoning "Law and Order SVU" — coastal conservationists have been rushing to the scenes of beached dolphins, carefully cutting out their penises and vaginas, and then stashing them in a freezer and overnighting the strange packager to this lab.
All while you see Detective Olivia Benson be the strongest woman in New York City who won't rest until all bad guys are behind bars.
Scientist Dara Orbach is another strong lady, only one who happens to be researching the co-evolution of marine mammals' genitalia. She wants to understand how dolphins evolved such illogically intricate sex organs, and these frozen dolphin vaginas and penises are helping her figure it out.
And because dolphins don't wash up too often with intact penises and vaginas, it's taken her a few years.
The penises and vaginas all looked like very strange roots or rollercoasters or hook-hands.Photo Credit: Dara Orbach
To understand how the penis fits inside the vagina, Orbach fills a beer keg with a saline solution and pumps the penis full, until it's erect and can slide into the vagina, which is both wildly inventive and also kind of like an oceanic Dr. Frankenstein.
So far, she's learned a few things. First, female dolphins may have evolved to have convoluted vaginas to ensure they're impregnated less often. Second, some dolphin penises look eerily like Captain Hook's artificial appendage.
In order for the penis to actually fit inside the vagina, the females would have to rotate their entire bodies.
While this sounds wildly inconvenient, it's actually a key tool to helping female dolphins control their bodies.
It's a long and exhaustive experience to give birth to a calf, so by making it harder for male dolphins to impregnate them, female dolphins can ensure they don't get pregnant on a whim — which, of course, is another example of how female dolphins are strong, important, independent women who control their bodies and don't need no man.