Saturday, 21 February 2015

A Most Unusual Badger Exhibit

Of Reykjavik's many quirky sites of interest to visitors, the most unusual must surely be the Icelandic Phallological Museum, described on its website as "probably the only museum in the world to contain a collection of phallic specimens belonging to all the various types of mammal found in a single country." On my recent trip to Iceland, this seemed like a must-see, and see it my companions and I did.

There is much to be said about this informative, discomfiting, and even playful museum--although to be honest, in short order I found the sight of hundreds of detached animal penises to be far more repulsive than amusing--but of relevance to this blog is the discovery of not one but three badger bacula (penis bones) on display.

As badgers aren't to be found on Iceland, I didn't expect to find anything badger-related during my trip, but there, in a cabinet with the bacula of other small- to mid-sized mammals as well as phallic statuary, were three: two Eurasian specimens, and one North American. More interesting, to my mind, was the discovery of the name of badgers in Icelandic, which I hadn't thought to seek out when working on my name list: "greifingi," very close to the Danish "graevling" and Norwegian "grevling," for "digger."

An odd discovery, to be sure, but one worthy of a post!

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