For the past four years, American taxpayers have paid nearly $400,000 so that Yale University could study the sexual conflict of waterfowl and "plasticity in duck penis length."
The National Science Foundation awarded Yale University $384,949 for a study on "Sexual Conflict, Social Behavior and the Evolution of Waterfowl Genitalia."
The discovery was first reported by CNSNews.com – and noted the grant was made available through President Obama's American Recovery and Reinvestment Act.
"Ducks are ideally suited to study the evolution of sexual conflict and the evolution of reproductive structures," the study declares. "In the last quarter, we have prepared a manuscript for submission on the results of the first two years of experiments on social phenotypic plasticity in Mandarin Duck and Laysan Teal."
NSF spokesperson Debbie Wing told Fox News the project now has a new name: "Sexual Conflict, Social Behavior and Evolution."
She said the NSF awards 11,000 grants annually and said winners are selected by a peer review process.
"NSF always strives to be good stewards of taxpayer dollars," she said – pointing out that Google and barcodes were a result of NSF-funded projects.
"These were awards that turned into great companies and products," she said. "It's an investment into our future. It's an investment into our economy. Sometimes you have to look at the big picture."
So how does the plasticity of a duck's sexual organ fit into the nation's economic future? "It's building blocks and looking at the basic research of one aware – gathering that research and applying it to other awards," she said.
"We really do have some great and valuable research coming out of our organization," Wing added.
I'm terribly confused. I thought the entire point of the Recovery Act was to stimulate the economy – not Donald Duck.
And for that matter wasn't there a cheaper way to determine the length of a duck's private parts?
Why not put on some hip-waders, grab a measuring stick and head down to the local duck pond?
Or better yet – why not just call the boys over at Duck Dynasty? I'm sure Uncle Si would've been more than happy to tell those Ivy Leaguers a thing or two about the birds and the bees.