‘Perverted’ penguins shocked biologist so much he hid results

The “perverted” sexual behavior of Adelie penguins shocked a British biologist on Robert Falcon Scott’s Terra Nova mission to the South Pole so much that he never formally published his findings. Instead, he wrote a short monograph that was distributed to only a few fellow experts and that was lost for nearly 100 years. The short paper was recently rediscovered and is now on display at the Natural History Museum in Tring, England. The paper documented what George Murray Levick perceived to be necrophilia, homosexual behavior, abuse of young chicks and rape by what he termed “hooligan” males, but more modern research has demonstrated that the birds were simply responding to what they perceived to be sexual cues.

Levick was the resident biologist on Scott’s 1910-13 mission to the South Pole — a feat they achieved only to discover that Norwegian explorer Roald Amundsen had beaten them.

– full report at LA Times


Bagemihl, Bruce: Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity

Roughgarden, Joan: Evolution’s Rainbow: Diversity, Gender, and Sexuality in Nature and People,

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