Museum of Hoaxes
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#17: Stimuli Eliciting Sexual Behavior in Turkeys
imageMale turkeys aren't fussy. Give them a lifelike model of a female turkey and they'll happily try to mate with it as eagerly as they would with the real thing.

This observation intrigued Martin Schein and Edgar Hale of the University of Pennsylvania, and made them curious about what might be the minimal stimulus required to excite a turkey. They embarked on a series of experiments to find out. This involved removing parts from the turkey model one by one, until the male turkey eventually lost interest.

Tail, feet, and wings were all removed, but still the clueless bird waddled up to the model, let out an amorous gobble, and tried to do his thing. Finally, the researchers were left with a head on a stick. And surprisingly, the male turkey still showed great interest. In fact, it preferred a head on a stick over a headless body.

Schein and Hale subsequently investigated how minimal they could make the head itself before it failed to elicit a response. They discovered that freshly severed female heads impaled on sticks worked best, but if the male turkey had nothing else it would settle for a plain balsa wood head. Turkeys evidently adhere to the philosophy that if you can't be with the one you love, then love the one you're with.

Curious about the mating habits of other poultry, Schein and Hale performed similar tests on White Leghorn Cocks. For those curious, they published their results in an article that boasts one of the most evocative titles in all of science: "Effects of morphological variations of chicken models on sexual responses of cocks."

Listed in chronological order. Newest comments at the end.
Not surprising to a quaker parrot owner. My bird will mate with a food bowl, a piece of broccoli. anything that sits still. These scientests are definately not parrot owners.
Posted by gott  on  Thu Sep 13, 2007  at  06:45 PM
Men using blowup dolls and artificial vaginas from "sex toy" manufacturers aren't much different.

There's also Portnoy masturbating with a piece of raw liver, and the kid in the "American Pie" movie...

Is this why many women call men turkeys?
Posted by John S  on  Sat Sep 22, 2007  at  03:36 AM
Reminds me of the movie "Boxing Helena"
Posted by unohoo  on  Sat Oct 06, 2007  at  07:27 PM
A turkey isn't a damn quacker parrot. Many people think they are stupid. They aren't. In fact if you have ever tried to hunt one,you'll find out that they have very good sight and their smart enough to fly away. In fact, a deer will do the same thing as a turkey, it will go after a saw horse with a deer head on it.
Posted by Ryan  on  Sun May 04, 2008  at  09:02 AM
I once dressed up in a turkey costume to see if I could get a turkey to mate with me. Ah, he was the best lover I've ever had.
Posted by Paris Hilton  on  Thu Aug 28, 2008  at  10:44 AM
"They discovered that freshly severed female heads impaled on sticks worked best"

Award for most ghoulish phase I've heard this year!
Posted by Reese  on  Mon Feb 16, 2009  at  02:23 PM
Turkey,s sexual behaviour as demonstrated by the research team goes to justify a saying in my native language ( EWE) which says " EVEN DIRTY WATER QUENCHES FIRE "
Posted by julien kwashie setor  on  Wed May 19, 2010  at  03:44 AM
Another provocative title from science: My wife once attended a seminar entitled "Whelping Management in Bitches".
Posted by Anon  on  Sun Dec 12, 2010  at  09:53 PM

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