Birds’ ‘depraved’ sexuality exposed
Dr George Murray Levick detailed the birds’ smutty shenanigans during Captain Scott’s ill-fated 1910-13 Antarctic Expedition.
He was stunned to see a young male engaged in necrophilia when it attempted to mate with a DEAD female.
Sexual abuse of young chicks was also observed as were acts of avian homosexuality.
The Edwardian Englishman was so horrified by his own findings that he initially recorded them in Greek to make them inaccessible to the average reader.
Mr Levick described how male penguins would gather in “hooligan bands of half a dozen or more and hang about the outskirts of the knolls, whose inhabitants they annoy by their constant acts of depravity”.
London’s Natural History Museum has now unearthed the landmark study entitled Sexual Habits of the Adelie Penguin, which had been lost for decades.
Although Captain Robert Scott and four others perished after reaching the South Pole on January 17, 1912, Levick survived the doomed expedition.
He spent an entire Antarctic winter in a cave with five others after ice prevented expedition ship Terra Nova from rescuing them.
Back in Britain, he published his paper but the intimate details of the species’ astonishing sexual behaviour were omitted after being considered too shocking.
The material instead was printed in a separate short study entitled “Sexual Habits of the Adelie Penguin”, privately passed around a few experts.
The groundbreaking paper - which came around 50 years ahead of the next study on the subject - had been lost until the recent discovery of a copy by Douglas Russell, a curator of birds at the Natural History Museum.
Russell told the The Observer the penguins’ sexual inexperience was to blame for the antics that so disgusted Levick.
He said: “Adelies gather at their colonies in October to start to breed.
“They have only a few weeks to do that and young adults simply have no experience of how to behave - hence the seeming depravity of their behaviour."
To this day, Levick is reportedly the only scientist to have studied an entire breeding cycle at Cape Adare after he spent the Antarctic summer of 1911-12 there.
Source: The Sun