Otter Penis Bones are Becoming More Breakable Due to Oilsands Contaminants

Woody the River Otter

Could Have Impact on Human Men, Study Reveals!

“We’ve demonstrated how the bone health measure, the penis bone, is tied to exposure to certain trace elements and to hydrocarbons,” said Philippe Thomas, a wildlife toxicologist with Environment and Climate Change Canada.

Otter Baculum or Penis Bone

The male river otter has a penis bone, or baculum, that is typically long, curvy and slender. The study says river otters are considered a “sentinel species” — one which can register the effects of environmental contaminants before other species.

“We do find, for the most part, that [the] river otter baculum is stronger, stiffer and denser at the low impact of those control sites — so in areas with usually lower levels of some of these hydrocarbons,” Thomas said.


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