Penguin sex riddle solved

The thorny issue of penguin sexuality has long baffled the scientific community. But, according to a new study, penguins do not engage in long-term relationships with birds of the same sex.

Penguins have never been afraid of p-p-picking up birds of the same sex. The study of a colony of king penguins, carried out by scientists from the Centre for Functional and Evolutionary Ecology in Montpellier, found that 28.3 percent engaged in mating rituals with other penguins of the same gender.

Among males, experts now believe this is caused by ‘loneliness’ at a lack of female birds in a colony, with another explanation attributing the behaviour to high levels of testosterone among male birds.

The failure of scientists to celebrate penguin homosexuality as a triumph of nature led some to speculate about the birds’ inability to differentiate between the sexes, a theory Director of Research Stephen Dobson dismisses: 'I found that the rate of homosexually displaying pairs was significantly lower than one would expect by chance…these [homosexual] pairs can bond. But bonded pairs can split up if one finds a more preferred partner.'

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