Do you know what an echidna is? O tin Australian animal is considered a "living fossil" because it has characteristics of reptiles, birds and mammals, as well as the platypus. However, the strangest of the species that is the subject of research by several scientists is its penis, which has four tips.

Scientists seek to understand the functionality of the different tips of the animal's penis. So far, it is known that the male echidnas alternate the tips of the reproductive organ, using two at a time.

penis of an echidna
Australian animal has a 4-point penis and intrigues scientists. Image: Jane Fanelon

"We found that internally they act as if they have two penises joined together and can use them independently," he told the ScienceAlert University of Melbourne biologist Jane Fenelon.

She and her colleagues have found that short-beaked echidnas can direct blood flow differently to each side of your penis, making it possible to choose which part of them will be erect.

Os scientists seek to understand the reason why the animal uses two ends of the penis at a time, there is a suspicion that the act is due to a competition between male and female of the species. According to researchers, when mating by alternating the tips of the penis, the echidna can ejaculate 10 times without a significant pause.

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In addition to the repeated number of ejaculations, sperm from the echidna function differently from most species. After ejaculation, up to 100 “sperm packs” are released and work together to fertilize the egg.

It is also known that the quadruple penis of the echidna is only used during mating, as the Australian animal does not need the organ to release urine. While not using the penis, males are able to keep it inside their bodies, so that it remains clean.

Echidna with the penis saved
The quadruple penis of the echidna is used only at the time of mating.
Image: Jane Fanelon

The echidnas are not the only ones in the animal kingdom with a penis with more than one tip. According to biologist Fenelon, it is possible to find the characteristic in some species of turtles.

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