Celebrities, including Gavin and Staceys Mathew Horne, attended the preview event last night of Sexual Nature, the Natural History Museum
s new exhibition opening this Friday.
Jameela Jamil, Tony Robinson and Martin Clunes explored amazing photography, film footage and intriguing specimens in the exhibition that examines the science behind sex.
Sexual Nature takes a provocative look at the birds and the bees, from the eye-watering to the thought-provoking. Did you know that the barnacles penis measures up to 30 times its body length? Or that female choice has driven the development of male seduction technique?
Ronnie Wood, Emily Maitlis and Charlie Boorman saw highlights of the exhibition including more than 100 specimens from the Museums vast scientific collections, many of which are on display for the first time.
The huge variety of specimens show the diversity of wonderful adaptations animals have evolved to get ahead in the mating game such as snail love darts and the detachable penis of the paper nautilus, says Tate Greenhalgh, part of the exhibition development team.
Facts of life
Sex feeds evolution. Without it, nature would lack the diversity we see today. Just as species adapt to survive, they have also developed sexual techniques to help ensure their genes are passed on to the next generation.
Battle of the sexes
The animal kingdom has evolved many living arrangements to maximise reproductive potential, and this is investigated in the exhibition. From dominant males monopolising harems of females - showcased by Guy the Gorilla - to an exploration of testes size in promiscuous species.
Guy the Gorilla takes centre stage in Sexual Nature
In a short-film from her Green Porno series, one of 8 in the exhibition, actress Isabella Rossellini demonstrates how male angler fish latch onto females for life becoming live-in sperm donors.
Winners take it all
The exhibition explores how sexual selection has produced an awesome arsenal of techniques that by stealth, strength or strategy, help ensure the successful males genes are passed on to the next generation while the loser leaves with nothing.
Visitors will see specially commissioned taxidermy featuring foxes and hedgehogs that reveal some of the surprising strategies that have evolved to keep females away from other males after copulation. There is also a giant interactive poetry wall for visitors to demonstrate their own powers of seduction in time for Valentines Day.