Are Penguins Gay? No, They’re Just Lonely

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Stories of homosexual behavior among penguins are well-documented and well-loved. But somebody’s just ruined them for us.

For a while, Roy and Silo, a pair of male Chinstrap penguins in New York Zoo, were the world’s most famous gay couple, building a nest together and even hatching and rearing abandoned chick named Tango. (Read about Harry and Pepper, the San Francisco Zoo’s Gay Penguins.)

However, this has been somewhat spoiled by a new study from the Center for Functional and Evolutionary Ecology in Montpellier, France which has suggested that penguins are only pairing up with other males because they are “lonely.” According to the paper, in the colony studied, where more than a quarter of the penguins were in (mostly male) same-sex couples, a shortage of females was driving males with high levels of testosterone to engage in mating displays with other males. Professor F. Stephen Dobson, one of the authors of the study published in the journal Ethology, said that when he observed the colony over time he found that all the “gay” penguins chose a heterosexual partner eventually and that female pairs would also “split up” to raise an egg with a male partner. (Check out Robo-Penguin in The 50 Best Inventions of 2009)

However, NewsFeed refuses to let this ruin the beauty of the romance between Roy and Silo. (via The Telegraph)