Long-Lost Study: Penguins Rape, Kill Each Other

Adelie penguins: so depraved, history forgot about them

By Neal Colgrass,  Newser Staff

Posted Jun 9, 2012 2:10 PM CDT

(Newser) – Those penguin tuxedos? Deceptive, it turns out. Certain young male penguins are so sexually depraved that their behavior was kept hidden for 100 years, the Guardian reports. British scientist George Murray Levick studied Adélie penguins during a 1910-1913 Antarctic expedition, and his report so appalled editors that details of necrophilia, murder, and rape were removed. A shorter paper, Sexual Habits of the Adélie Penguin, circulated only among experts.

Now the paper is being published, exposing Adélie "hooligan" males that "annoy" other penguins "by their constant acts of depravity," as Levick put it. The British bird curator who found the paper defends the penguins, however, saying they have little time to breed, no social experience, and poor understanding of cues. "For example, a dead penguin, lying with its eyes half-open, is very similar in appearance to a compliant female," he said. "The result is the so-called necrophilia that Levick witnessed and which so disgusted him." (See whether certain penguins are gay or "just flirting").

Certain 'hooligan' penguins behaved badly 100 years ago, according to a newly unearthed report.
Certain 'hooligan' penguins behaved badly 100 years ago, according to a newly unearthed report.   (Shutterstock)
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