It’s pretty easy to hoax people. We all want to be deceived, but only up to a point. Some hoaxes are fun and pleasant, others malicious and unpleasant. We’d like a way to tell the difference (Robert Carroll).

Jan 22, 2011

Don't drink the sea water...

I personally received this email about 2 years ago, but you might get it even earlier, starting from year 2002 or 2003, when it began circulating.

FW: Don't drink the sea water... read below first....
The average blue whale produces over 400 gallons of sperm when it ejaculates, but only 10% of that actually makes it into his mate. So 360 gallons are spilled into the ocean every time one unloads, and you wonder why the ocean is so salty...

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Respectable site Urban Legends expose this message as a two-part hoax, while this text first appeared as a "Fact of the Day" on email joke lists toward the end of 2002. The attached image appeared to be of unknown origin and didn't begin making the rounds until June 2003.

It should be obvious at first glance that the text and image don't belong together. How could the relatively small specimen in this photograph possibly produce 400 gallons of sperm at a go? The capacity of an average hot tub is roughly that same amount, 400 gallons, meaning this Blue Whale would have to possess testicles twice the size of the rest of its body to live up to its glandular reputation.

It stands to reason that since blue whales are the largest animals on the planet, their reproductive organs ought to be of similarly impressive dimensions, and that is certainly the case. By one estimate, the penis of a blue whale can measure up to 16 feet long and its testicles weigh in at around 25 pounds apiece. But even packing 50 pounds of bollocks — the weight of an average-sized bulldog, if you require a benchmark — it's absurd to imagine that a blue whale, or any other creature on earth for that matter, could produce 400 gallons of seminal fluid at a time, or even one-tenth that amount.

Furthermore, there's the question of whether or not the animal depicted in the image is even a blue whale at all — which, actually, it appears it is not. Blue whales average at least 75 feet in length.

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Using the human beings in the photograph for scale, this creature is clearly smaller than a blue whale and most likely isn't any kind of whale at all, but rather a whale shark.

And since sharks don't have penises at all, we must further conclude that either this image has been doctored, or the spectacular appendage dangling between the animal's pelvic fins is one of its claspers, a pair of tubular organs with which a male shark fastens itself to the female and inseminates her during reproduction.

OK, we got it, there is no Blue Whale, and the penis is not real. But, what is the real dimension of the Blue Whale penis? Is it really one of the biggest among living things? Well, that is true. The biggest penis indeed belongs to the biggest animal: the blue whale. The largest measured penis reached 2.4 m (8 feet). Accurate measurements are difficult to be made because the whale's erect length can only be observed during mating. Moreover, whales have some control over their penises: they can move it and - to a certain degree - bend its tip to facilitate mating.

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Exposing this amusing hoax, you should still keep in mind that drinking sea water is still not recommended for two reasons. First, the bacterial count may be too high for our health. The second and main reason is that the salt content of sea water (about a quarter-pound of salt to a gallon of water) is too great for the human body. Even though a certain amount of salt is necessary for body cells to stay healthy, an excess leads to dehydration and death.

Sources and Additional Information:

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