Not exactly Happy Feet nor Madagascar

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In February 1912 the scientist George Murray Levick found himself in an especially dire situation: abandoned among the Antartic ice because of a particularly harsh winter which kept recovery ships too far from his location, he had to survive for six months inside a chilly cave waiting to be rescued. The ugliest part was however to remain surrounded by such a callous gang of deviants to leave him deeply shocked. Necrophiles, pedophiles, homosexuals, rapists, incestors… the poor man was so disgusted by them that he refused to divulge his diaries about that harrowing experience – until now.

Douglas Russell, the curator of the ornithology department of the Natural History Museum of London, has recently found a copy of those writings revealing the whole awful truth… about Adélie penguins. The subject of such a disconcerting study was in fact a colony of those cuddly animals, who had never been observed before for such a long time, leaving their sexual habits unknown. The puritanical Levick was fooled by the almost anthropomorphic looks of the penguins, and wrote about them like they were human beings. «Little hooligan bands of half a dozen or more gather and hang about the outskirts of the knolls, whose inhabitants they annoy by their constant acts of depravity» he wrote in one page exhibited at the Scott’s last expedition show, and you can easily picture the frozen-mustachioed scientist losing his monocle for the indignation.

His colleagues were later able to find an explanation for the palmipedes’ strange behavior. According to modern studies, the problem lies entirely in the short mating period, during which few weeks the penguins are together in large numbers for the first time in their lives. The harsh environment causes high early deaths rates, so the pack has few experienced birds and the rest… improvises, often botching it up. This is not, after all, too different from what happens with humans as well, and the quirky ideas of those approaching sex with a porn-based education only.

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