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An enquiry from West Africa

“Before the death of my father on february2005 in a private hospital here in Nouadhibou he secretly called me on his bedside and told me that he has 15 TONS DRIED WHALE PENISES and A TEASURE BOX containing his life saving that worth 9.200.00 usd which is now lifted to a prime security vault in Europ, that he used my name as his only son for the depositing of the goods.”

The whale penis question

Our resident palaeontologist, Dr Trev, doesn’t normally interest himself in the penises of whales. They’re a bit too fresh. However, he has agreed to attempt an approximation of how many individuals may have been castrated. The information staff at the whaleweigh station stated that a blue whale has a mass of about 100 tons. As their specimen is female, they couldn’t help with the more intimate question. If anybody happens to know the relevant statistics for a flaccid cetacean member, Trev is itching to be informed. He adds that efficient drying processes should remove around 70% of the weight. If treated to the equivalent of a kippering, then a Balaenoptera musculus would be reduced to a meagre 30 tons.


A colleague states that male blue whales don’t have erections as such. Rather, the organ is stored in a fold in the stomach region, and muscle contractions force it out when required. They suggested a length of up to five metres and a maximum circumference of perhaps half a metre. However, it tapers distally. Despite the stark differences between cetaceans and primates, my secretary, Marquis de Sade VI, has volunteered Napoleon as a guinea pig. The Mrs Willsons will be providing stimulation when we can get him tied up. Should anybody be wondering, his testicles weigh about ten kilos. To avoid confusion, I’m referring to those of a blue whale.

Points to bear in mind

Assessing the weight of Napoleon’s penis for comparative purposes proved problematic, and Marq’s suggested solution would definitely have resulted in flaccidity. He withdrew it when the Mrs Willsons offered to show him why and began fumbling with his dressing gown.
After chewing the subject matter over, Dr Trev provided the following guestimate. He wishes to stress these figures are based on untested assumptions and are very possibly wrong. For example, he’s assumed a uniform circumference of 0.4 metres and allowed a kilo of mass per litre of volume. Normally, he’d use a bit less weight in such calculations, but Trev’s had little experience with fully aquatic penises.

Stage one

As is known to many, the volume of a cylinder can be calculated with πr²h. In this instance height equates to length. We first need to work out the radius. This can be done by dividing the circumference by π and then halving the result. That’s because c=πd and d=2r. Consequently, the radius is about 0.064m.

Stage two

The volume is now easy to deduce; 3.14 x 0.064² x 5 = 0.0643072m³. Multiplying by a thousand produces 64.3 litres.

Stage three

Bearing in mind the assumption of a kilo of mass for each litre, the dried weight can be calculated by extracting the water, which presumably accounts for something like 70% of the organism. 64.3 x 30% yields 19.29 kilos of material. As the process may have been less than perfect, we may as well call it 20 for convenience. If each castration resulted in 20 kilos, it follows that 50 blue whales would be required for a ton.


Assuming blue whales were the source (which is improbable given their scarcity and the lack of a whaling industry in West Africa), then the pile of penises appear to represent about 750 individuals.

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