Adelie penguins have a rather active sex life. The young British scientist George Murray Levick discovered this in the early twentieth century. The Natural History Museum in London has now added its notes on the penguins’ observations to its collection.
The Natural History Museum, the natural history museum from London, has a new impressive piece in its collection. The curators of the museum have announced this. It is a kind of diary by George Murray Levick.
The Terra Nova Expedition
That man was one of the scientists who traveled to Antarctica with the Terra Nova in the early twentieth century. That expedition was known as the “Terra Nova Expedition”, named after the ship that supplied the researchers to Antarctica.
The group arrived in Antarctica in 1910 and had different goals and so was divided into several smaller groups. The group’s “leader”, Robert Falcon Scott, was the first to reach the geographic South Pole. That is one of the points at which all longitude circles on Earth converge and so the Earth’s axis would be said to be squeaked through the ice.
That was a tough task. Because the researchers had to cover nearly 1,500 kilometers twice quickly (before winter became “real”). Once to reach the South Pole and once to get back to the camp. Scott had made a curve, with the temperatures the group expected during the trip.
But coincidentally, temperatures in 1912 – the year the expedition took place – were much lower than expected. The scientists partly achieved their goal. They reached the South Pole, but were not the first. A Norwegian group had been 34 days ahead of them.
And then the drama came. On the way back to camp, temperatures kept dropping. All five British “South Pole Hunters” were killed by starvation and extreme temperatures.
George Murray Levick (the man of the diary) was part of another group. The young surgeon and zoologist had to observe natural history in Antarctica. He was busy with that when the Adelie penguins suddenly appeared. Levick became “obsessed” with the animals and carefully studied and recorded their behavior.
That behavior was quite shocking for the time. In fact, it was so bad that Levick dared not write down his findings in English, but used the Greek alphabet. The young Briton noted that there are a lot of young male penguins (or “hooligan cocksAs he called them) were in the colony.
“Sex with just about everything”
Those male penguins had a busy sex life, to say it with an understatement. Levick found that the penguins were not averse to necrophilia, often using violence to accomplish the act, and often displaying homosexual behavior.
And that’s consistent with what we now know about penguin behavior, Douglas Russell of the Natural History Museum said. “The thing with penguins is that sperm is very cheap. Their main goal is to fertilize a female and provide for the next generation… The birds have sex with just about everything. ”
Life and death
In addition to his remarkably accurate observation of the Adelie penguins, Levick also wrote down his life and death story in his diary. The group that had to observe nature could no longer get on board the Terra Nova. A thick layer of ice had prevented the ship from reaching the researchers.
Levick and his companions had to survive for seven months, without a camp and without supplies. The men had to make a kind of cave in the ice to shelter from heavy snowstorms. The only food they had was whale fat and the penguins they killed.
George Murray Levick survived those inhumane conditions and managed to hike over 300 kilometers to base camp. Years later, scientists found the photo diary that Levick kept in that camp. That’s a diary other than the one in which he described the sex life of the penguins.