While browsing the Web this morning, I came across a most interesting article about penguins and their “hooligan sexual behavior.”
George Levick, a surgeon and the medical officer on Scott's famous 1910-1913 expedition to the South Pole, called the Terra Nova expedition, detailed his account of the penguins' seemingly odd behaviors in a four-page pamphlet "Sexual Habits of Adélie Penguins" in 1915.
At the time, Levick was so shocked by what he saw he recorded the events in Greek to disguise the information, at one point writing, "There seems to be no crime too low for these penguins."
Apparently these cute little guys practice autoeroticism, necrophilia, gang rape and a few additional practices that Levick found shocking.
“Necrophilia, as Levick perceived it, is a human term, and therefore hardly likely to explain penguin behaviour. However, the low temperatures in the Antarctic did preserve countless dead birds and, male or female, if their frozen corpses happened to be assuming the position, a passing Adélie penguin could not pass up the opportunity to mount it. You can understand Levick's suspicions.”
“It is in no way analogous to necrophilia in the human context," says Russell. "It's not that the penguins are walking around going, 'ooh, she's dead''. They have no realisation that she's dead. What they're seeing is a penguin that's in the posture they interpret as to be ready and compliant for congress. “ Well, that’s somewhat reassuring!
This interesting story led me to another link about animal sexual practices (I really need to get a life, don’t I? Ha, ha!) Anyway, here are a couple of others that I found interesting.
“Bonobos monkeys are highly promiscuous, engaging in sexual interactions more frequently than any other primate, and in just about every combination from heterosexual to homosexual unions. Mothers even mate with their mature sons (Everyone: Eeeeewww!). Bonobo societies "make love, not war," and their frequent sex is thought to strengthen social bonds and resolve conflict. This idea could explain why bonobo societies are relatively peaceful and their relatives, chimpanzees, which practice sex strictly for reproduction, are prone to violence.”
“Spotted hyena clans are socially matriarchal, with females dominating large groups of both males and females. The mating strategy is polygamous, however, with a male mating with many females. The female sports a penis-like clitoris, which contains the birthing canal and protrudes seven inches from her body. This awkward anatomy makes sex tricky since a male must crouch in a particular position so his penis can penetrate the clitoris. The pseudo penis also means females decide which males get access.” Seven inches?? Wowza!!!!