Friday, May 2, 2008

Penguin and seal get it on

An Antarctic fur seal has been observed trying to have sex with a king penguin.

The South African-based scientists who witnessed the incident say it is the most unusual case of mammal mating behaviour yet known.

The incident, which lasted for 45 minutes and was caught on camera, is reported in the Journal of Ethology.

The bizarre event took place on a beach on Marion Island, a sub-Antarctic island that is home to both fur seals and king penguins.

Why the seal attempted to have sex with the penguin is unclear. But the scientists who photographed the event speculate that it was the behaviour of a frustrated, sexually inexperienced young male seal.

Equally, it might be been an aggressive, predatory act; or even a playful one that turned sexual.

"At first glimpse, we thought the seal was killing the penguin," says Nico de Bruyn, of the Mammal Research Institute at the University of Pretoria, South Africa

This story fascinates me in so many ways. What would they call the animal if the penguin gave birth? Maybe a sealguin? Peneal?

What I also learned was, "Chinstrap penguins occasionally indulge in homosexual behaviour, and adelie penguins sometimes "prostitute" themselves to get stones for nest-building". Who knew penguins had so many skeletons in their closets. They whore themselves out for rocks. Well I guess people do that to, but it sounds funnier when penguins do it. Stories like this should be front page news.

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