Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2011/09/30/aussies_scoop_the_ig_nobel_for_biology/

Beer bottle shagging beetles with HUGE MEMBERS win prize

Boffins scoop Ig Nobel by stalking horny insects

By Brid-Aine Parnell

Posted in Science, 30th September 2011 12:28 GMT

Aussie beetles who mistake the brown bobbly bit round the rim of beer bottles for an alluring female have landed two entomologists this year's Ig Nobel prize for biology.

Darryl Gwynne and David Rentz witnessed the misguided insects trying to do the nasty with the traditional "stubbies" in Western Australia, setting them on the path to glory in the 21st First Annual Ig Nobel Prize Ceremony at Harvard University.

"It was just coincidental that my area of research was Darwinian sexual selection and how sex differences evolve, and here was a classic example taking place in front of my eyes where males were making mating errors," Prof Gwynne told the BBC.

The beetles were also doing a good job of proving that beer and sex are not safe mix.

"It was very obvious the beetles were trying to mate. These beetles have enormous genitalia, and they're large to start with – over two inches long. The sad thing was that these beetles were dying; they wouldn't leave the bottles alone. They'd fall off them exhausted," he added.

Meanwhile, the Ig Nobel Peace Prize went to the sensible mayor of Vilnius in Lithuania, for demonstrating that the problem of illegally parked luxury cars can be solve by running them over with an armoured tank.

And in other auto-related prize-winning, Canadian John Senders bagged the public safety prize for his series of 'safety' experiments that required someone to drive a car on a major highway while a visor repeatedly flapped down in front of his face, blinding him.

The UK's contribution to improbable research was rather reduced this year compared to last, but Anna Wilkinson, one of the team that won the prize for physiology by writing the study No Evidence of Contagious Yawning in the Red-Footed Tortoise, was representing the Brits.

And Mirjam Tuk, of both the Netherlands and the UK, was one of the group that won the prize for medicine by demonstrating that people make better decisions about some kinds of things, but worse decisions about other kinds of things, when they're dying for a pee.

You can get the lowdown of the rest of 2011's winners here. ®