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Goatman, underwear-wearing rats honored at Ig Nobel awards

Friday, September 23, 2016 12:26
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(Before It's News)

A biologist who created prosthetic limb extensions that allowed him to live as a goat and a late urologist who studied the effects of wearing wool, cotton, or polyester underpants on the sex lives of rats were among the researchers honored Thursday as part of the 2016 Ig Nobel Prizes.

The 26th edition of this annual event, which was held at Harvard University’s Sanders Theater, was organized by the editors of the Annals of Improbable Research, and according to the event’s official website, it was originally created “to celebrate the unusual, honor the imaginative – and spur people’s interest in science, medicine, and technology.”

Taking home the honors in the reproductive science category was the late Ahmed Shafik of the Cairo University Department of Surgery and Experimental Research for his work involving rats and polyester underpants. As the Los Angeles Times explained, Shafik found that undergarments containing the synthetic fibers significantly reduced the reproductive success of male rodents.

pants on rat

Do pants on a rat inhibit mating? Only the important questions at the Ig Nobel prizes.

In fact, the newspaper reported that his experiments revealed that rats who were forced to wear polyester underwear for an entire year were 87% less likely to successfully complete an attempt at having sex than they were beforehand. Likewise, those wearing a cotton-poly blend were 71% less successful at reproducing, Shafik wrote in the journal European Urology.

Emissions-cheating automaker among other 2016 recipients

Also honored at the 2016 Ig Nobel Prizes was Thomas Thwaites, who was named co-winner of the biology prize for developing special prosthetic extensions for his arms and legs so he would be able to spend three days living as a goat in the Swiss Alps, according to BBC News.

Thwaites, who shared the honor with Charles Foster (who also spent time living as a variety of different animals, including a badger, an otter and a fox), explained that he initially came up with the idea in an attempt to escape the stress of day-to-day life. He even used a special prosthesis to eat grass alongside his fellow goats, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“The point of the Ig Nobels,” the Washington Post explained, “is a total lack of gravitas. But the science, for the most part, is legitimate… Awards have been given in the past for discovering the way a vortex of body hair causes bellybutton lint to accumulate in the navel,” the paper added, as well as one study that led to the development of a cheese-baited trap for malaria mosquitoes.

Other recipients of this year’s awards included a project that found that looking into a mirror and scratching the right side of your body can relieve an itch on the left side (and vice versa); a study in which the authors asked 1,000 liars why they lied, and then decided whether or not to believe their answers, and one in which Japanese researchers investigated whether or not objects looked any different when people bent over and viewed them between their legs.

German automaker Volkswagen was also given tongue-in-cheek honors in chemistry for their efforts in “solving the problem of excessive automobile pollution emissions by automatically, electromechanically producing fewer emissions whenever the cars are being tested.” The firm, you may recall, was caught using special software that allowed its diesel vehicles to limit how much pollution they emitted during testing, only to exceed legal limits when on the road.


Image credit: Brian Snyder/Reuters

The post Goatman, underwear-wearing rats honored at Ig Nobel awards appeared first on Redorbit.
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