Female bottlenose dolphins are physically able to enjoy sex as much as humans, a new study has revealed, using the make-up of the creature's clitoris – which apparently suggests "that it functions to provide pleasure."
Scientists have discovered that female dolphins have a clitoris that sits at the entrance of their vagina – which is a haven of sensory nerves and tissues.
The lead professor said that her team became curious about the dolphin's clitoris while studying the evolution of their vaginas through the ages, as reported by the Mirror.
A detailed analysis of the structure of the dolphin clitoris, which was published in the journal Current Biology, has suggested that marine mammals could experience pleasure when rolling about in the waves, as well as reach orgasm.
Study first author Professor Patricia Brennan, of Mount Holyoke College in the US, explained why understanding the clitoris was the key to understanding the species.
She said: "The dolphin clitoris has many features to suggest that it functions to provide pleasure to females."
It is common knowledge amongst scientists that dolphins are highly social creatures who regularly have sex as a way of creating and maintaining social bonds with each other.
After the biologists found the clitoris in the vagina of female bottleneck dolphins, they were able to confirm the likelihood of it being stimulated during sex.
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While things got hot and heavy under the waves, the team received reports of female dolphins rubbing each other's clitorises with their snouts, flippers, and flukes.
In the new study, Professor Brennan and her colleagues decided to take a closer look at the dolphin clitoris.
In fact, they carefully looked at clitorises from eleven females who had died from natural causes.
They then examined them for the presence, shape, and configuration of their erectile bodies.
They also looked at how nerve fibres ran through the tissue and were able to confirm that what they saw were "working" clitorises in dolphins.
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Professor Brennan said: "Just like the human clitoris, the dolphin clitoris has large areas of erectile tissue that fill up with blood."
She continued by suggesting it had a functional role by saying: "The erectile tissue shape changes as animals become adults."
The team's studies also showed that the clitoris body has large nerves and many free nerve endings right underneath the skin, which is much thinner there than any nearby skin.
The researchers also found genital corpuscles – much like those seen in human clitorises and penis tips – which are responsible for the pleasurable feeling we get during sex.
Professor Brennan went on to explain that the erectile bodies in dolphins are "surprisingly similar" to the shape of the erectile bodies – or tissues, in humans.
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