Sometimes, research studies just go haywire. You start with an idea, one thing leads to another, and you find yourself in a seriously strange situation. Case in point, the infamous 1962 turkey head experiments.
Researchers Martin Schein and Edgar Hale, from the University of Pennsylvania, had noted that in previous studies on animal behavior that male turkeys would happily mate with a life-size model of a female turkey. They wondered, as one does: What would be the minimal stimulus required to sexually excite a turkey?
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So they started removing body parts from the decoy turkey, one by one. The live turkeys didn't mind. Finally the males were left with just a head on a stick. And that was fine, too. In fact, the males even responded to an abstract balsa-wood representation of a female turkey head.
Double Secret Bonus Trivia: The researchers later followed up their experiment with White Leghorn cocks, resulting in the immortal research study title: "Effects of morphological variations of chicken models on sexual responses of cocks."