Penguins Not Gay, Just Flirting

They need testosterone outlet until females are available, say researchers
By Mary Papenfuss,  Newser User
Posted Oct 21, 2010 3:02 AM CDT
King penguins hang out with guys until they can find a female partner, French researchers claim.   (Wikipedia)

(Newser) – Penguins aren't really gay, even though it may look that way, claims a new study. The lonely animals are just "flirting" with other guys because there aren't enough females to go around, say French researchers. Male bonding among king penguins has already been observed in zoos; researchers discovered that up to a quarter of penguins in a colony in Antarctica were in same-sex partnerships, mostly male. But they're just biding their time until females become available because they need mating-display outlets for their high levels of testosterone, according to the scientists.

The male pairs don't bond in the same way as a heterosexual pair would, by learning each other’s calls or caring for eggs, says Prof. F. Stephen Dobson of the Center for Function and Evolutionary Ecology. Over time, researchers found most of the "gay" penguins eventually chose a heterosexual partner, reports the Telegraph.
(Read more king penguins stories.)

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