March 23, 2016

"[T]he butthole is one of the finest innovations in the past 
540 million years of animal evolution."

"The first animals that arose seem to have literally had potty mouths: Their modern-day descendants, such as sea sponges, sea anemones, and jellyfish, all lack an anus and must eat and excrete through the same hole. Once an independent exit evolved, however, animals diversified into the majority of species alive today, ranging from earthworms
 to humans. One apparent advantage of a second hole is that animals can eat while digesting a meal, whereas creatures with one hole must finish and defecate before eating again. Other possible benefits, say evolutionary biologists, include not polluting an animal’s dining area and allowing an animal to evolve a longer body because it does not have to pump waste back up toward the head...."

From "Why watching comb jellies poop has stunned evolutionary biologists" (via Metafilter).

26 comments:

The Cracker Emcee said...

Lot's of folks pump waste back up through their heads. Democrats, mostly.

The Cracker Emcee said...

Beat y'all to it.

Fabi said...

The orifice that launched a thousand jokes and at least one memorable Althouse commentator. Not naming any names.

Goddess of the Classroom said...

I used to say, "Men are like jellyfish. They have no brain. They have no heart. They only have stomachs and sex organs."

eric said...

I wish I could get paid to make shit up.

Anthony said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Anthony said...

"Fascinating." <>

virgil xenophon said...

Another segment in the "settled science" continuum...cys of this article need to be mailed to all CAGW believers....upon second thought, belay that, matey. Religious fanatics are impervious to fact, reason or logic

YoungHegelian said...

Oh, have a talk with your proctologist. The whole rectal area is simply fascinating. And, no, I don't mean that in any kind of Laslo way.

For example, your anus can distinguish, usually correctly, if what it's got the urge to open & pass is gas, liquid, or solid. The whole area is enervated almost as much as the genitals nearby, which is why hemorrhoids or hemorrhoid surgery can be so exquisitely painful.

And the rectal area's circulatory flow & its immune function combined with the gut's immune system function is near miraculous. Think about it. You have rectal bleeding all the time, mostly from hemorrhoidal tissue. What's all around the area? Fecal matter, in a constant bacterial stream. Yet, there are rarely infections down there in a normally healthy individual. However, smear fecal matter in a cut on your arm, and leave it untreated, & four days later they'll be amputating your arm in an attempt to save you from sepsis.

In reality, it may be quite a compliment to call someone an "asshole".

Terry said...

People have used the power of reason to describe, very precisely, a thing that does not exist, called 'the past.' This 'past', amazingly, reflects the things that we find interesting in the present. How courteous of the past! We just need to get used to a new past every half century or so.

Roughcoat said...

If the past doesn't exist, memory doesn't exist either.

whswhs said...

The speaker does not seem to be well informed about comparative anatomy. Sponges have no digestive tract at all, not as we understand it. They have vast numbers of tiny little holes that water flows through, and they have flagellated cells that snag bits of edible matter from the water as they pass. This is in fact a two-ended process, but a radically decentralized one. They're not similar to coelenterates or ctenophores, which do actually have one-ended digestive systems.

Bob Boyd said...

William Browne describes yesterday's oral argument.

madAsHell said...

I just put chicken manure in the garden. If you think about it, most of the planet has passed through an asshole.

Eustace Chilke said...

The butthole is, indeed, one of the stars in evolution's big show. A tool, you might say, of progress. This is why we are ruled by progressive tools and buttholes.

Bob Matthews said...

I work with several buttholes who seem quite unevolved.

Steven Davis said...

I'm surprised Laslo has not weighed in on this thread, and also surprised that I'm the first to bring it up.

Terry said...

Roughcoat said...
If the past doesn't exist, memory doesn't exist either.

Surely you aren't saying that memory exists in the past, Roughcoat!


O'Brien was looking down at him speculatively. More than ever he had the air of a teacher taking pains with a wayward but promising child.
‘There is a Party slogan dealing with the control of the past,’ he said. ‘Repeat it, if you please.’
‘“Who controls the past controls the future: who controls the present controls the past,”’ repeated Winston obediently.
“‘Who controls the present controls the past,”’ said O'Brien, nodding his head with slow approval. ‘Is it your opinion, Winston, that the past has real existence?’
Again the feeling of helplessness descended upon Winston. His eyes flitted towards the dial. He not only did not know whether ‘yes’ or ‘no’ was the answer that would save him from pain; he did not even know which answer he believed to be the true one.
O'Brien smiled faintly. ‘You are no metaphysician, Winston,’ he said. ‘Until this moment you had never considered what is meant by existence. I will put it more precisely. Does the past exist concretely, in space? Is there somewhere or other a place, a world of solid objects, where the past is still happening?’
‘No.’
‘Then where does the past exist, if at all?’
‘In records. It is written down.’
‘In records. And—?’
‘In the mind. In human memories.’
‘In memory. Very well, then. We, the Party, control all records, and we control all memories. Then we control the past, do we not?’
‘But how can you stop people remembering things?’ cried Winston again momentarily forgetting the dial. ‘It is involuntary. It is outside oneself. How can you control memory? You have not controlled mine!’
O'Brien's manner grew stern again. He laid his hand on the dial.

Quaestor said...

If you think about it, most of the planet has passed through an asshole.

I thought about it.

75% of Earth's mass is either oxygen or silicon, and of that percentage more than 90% is paired up chemically with each other. Since the nutritive value of sand to bilateral triploblasts is approximately zero the odds that most of the planet has passed through an asshole is also approximately zero. However, I did read somewhere that since the average age of a water molecule is greater than 5 billion years the odds are near certainty that any given glass of water contains at least one molecule that has passed through the bladder of Oliver Cromwell. Why Oliver Cromwell rather than Thomas Fairfax escapes me. Maybe Fairfax drank more liquor.

n.n said...

Inference.

Steve Uhr said...

It's posts like this that allow the talents and know how of the commentators to shine. Smart bunch. No sarcasm intended.

Chris N said...

Questor-~75% of Oxygen and Silicon comprise the total mass of the crust, but not the total planetary mass, right? I still had to look it up. The 75% is still surprising to me.

More generally, I wonder how/if our politics would be different if we all had a single orifice.


Quaestor said...

75% of Oxygen and Silicon comprise the total mass of the crust, but not the total planetary mass, right?

Nope. The whole she-bang.

Oxygen: 46%
Silicon: 28%
Aluminum: 8%
Iron: 5%
Calcium: 4%
Sodium: 3%
Potassium: 3%
Magnesium: 2%

The largest fraction of Earth's mass is the region between the crust and the iron/nickel core, the mantle, which is mostly composed of orthosilicates. That's where the vast majority of Earth's oxygen is concentrated. The O2 in the atmosphere and the oxygen in seawater is negligible.

Rusty said...

Speaking of buttholes has anyone seen........................
Too fucking easy.

jaed said...

Althouse, you need a "Laslo-Bait" tag....

Chris N said...

Quaestor,

Well, I'll be damned.

Thanks