‘Depraved’ sex acts by penguins shocked polar explorer
9 June 2012 Last updated at 20:36 ET
By Matt McGrath Science reporter, BBC World Service
Accounts of unusual sexual activities among penguins, observed a century ago by a member of Captain Scott’s polar team, are finally being made public.
Details, including “sexual coercion”, recorded by George Murray Levick were considered so shocking that they were removed from official accounts.
However, scientists now understand the biological reasons behind the acts that Dr Levick considered “depraved”.
The Natural History Museum has published his unedited papers.
Mr Levick, an avid biologist, was the medical officer on Captain Scott’s ill-fated Terra Nova expedition to the South Pole in 1910. He was a pioneer in the study of penguins and was the first person to stay for an entire breeding season with a colony on Cape Adare.
Who knew? (Or, as someone on Flyertalk put it “Fifty shades of penguin?”