Genitalia: Why waste elimination AND reproduction?

  • #1
Why do genitalia serve this dual purpose? Is there some payoff or benefit for these organs to provide both functions of waste elimination and sexual reproduction?
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Math Is Hard
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
4,527
28
A bunch of engineers are sitting around at a party, discussing the nature of God.

The mechanical engineer states that God must also be a mechanical engineer because "if you look at all the pulleys and levers that drive the body, how the tendons and muscles and bones all work together, well, it's just amazing."

The chemical engineer says that no, God has to be a chemical engineer because "if you look at all the chemical processes that drive the body, how the hormones and the brain and the glands and everything else all interact, well, it's just astounding."

The electrical engineer says that no, God has to be an electrical engineer because "if you look at the circuitry of the body, how the thousands upon millions of nerve cells transmit signals from one part to another, well, it boggles the mind."

The civil engineer speaks up last of all and says, no, God is definitely a civil engineer, because "only a civil engineer would run a sewer through a playground. "
 
  • #3
Ha! Thanks for that. So I guess it's one of those imponderables.
 
  • #4
Math Is Hard
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
4,527
28
Maybe, maybe not. Forgive me -- I was just having some fun with your legitimate scientific question.

I figure if the reproductive doo-dads were tucked between the legs, it might be a slightly safer place where a predator bite would have trouble getting at them. So a critter might take a hit at the extremities, but still go on to reproduce.

But we'll see what the biology mavens have to say...
 
  • #5
203
0
It also allow a more efficient use of resources.. why have two things when one is enough?
 
  • #6
jim mcnamara
Mentor
4,223
2,787
There's an old dictum - phylogeny recapitulates ontogeny.

Vertebrates all have pretty much the same body plan as we do. Our design comes from early vertebrates. As animals evolve, basic overall body plans and metabolic pathways change slowly or, more correctly, tend to be conserved. This is why all of the vertebrates have bilateral symmetry, for example. And why waste excretion openings and genitalia tend to be in very close proximity in most vertebrate species.

Why fix it if it ain't broke?
 
  • #7
Well, I expected that. But why did the proximity exist in the first place? Surely it's not just coincidental.
 
  • #8
Moonbear
Staff Emeritus
Science Advisor
Gold Member
11,490
52
Surely it's not just coincidental.
Why not?

Unlike lower invertebrates, we have separation of ingestive and excretory openings. It also makes sense to have the fewest openings from the outside to the inside (the digestive tract really provides a closed tube through the body) so that the potential for infection penetrating the body cavity is reduced.
 
  • #9
9
0
Why not?

Unlike lower invertebrates, we have separation of ingestive and excretory openings. It also makes sense to have the fewest openings from the outside to the inside (the digestive tract really provides a closed tube through the body) so that the potential for infection penetrating the body cavity is reduced.
Fewer infections, hence lower mortality rate, hence better rate of survival, genes passed on...Hey-Presto, a genitila with two functions. :surprised

Funnily enough, you can't do "both" things at the same time. It's physically impossible.
 

Related Threads on Genitalia: Why waste elimination AND reproduction?

  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
651
  • Last Post
Replies
3
Views
142
  • Last Post
Replies
16
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
19
Views
8K
Replies
2
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
980
Replies
2
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
4K
Replies
4
Views
5K
Top