Men in prehistoric Europe manipulated their privates with body art and piercings in ritual and to just fit in.
Paleolithic phallic art suggests that many early European men scarred, pierced and tattooed their penises.
The practice appears to have been most common in France and Spain around 12,000 years ago.
The meaning of the symbols remains a mystery, but many match images found on cave art from the same period.
Men in prehistoric Europe scarred, pierced and tattooed their penises, likely for ritualistic and social group reasons, according to a new study.
Analysis of phallic decorations in Paleolithic art, described in the December issue of The Journal of Urology, may also show evidence of the world's first known surgery performed on a male genital organ. The alteration, or surgery, might have just been for ornamental purposes, or a piercing, the researchers suggest.
Lead author Javier Angulo, chair of the Department of Urology at Hospital Universitario de Getafe in Spain, explains that, like today, tattooing and manipulation of body parts have always functioned as a way for people to express themselves.