For those still keeping count (which is probably just me), we are now at 246 out of 292 hits on this blog being people looking for pictures of sexy penguins. (The unlikely phrase "bashemath's husband" has now been used twice to find this blog.) That's about 84% of my traffic.
But that's not the reason for this post. The reason for this post is that I was jokingly looking up info on the mating habits of penguins on Wikipedia, thinking that I'd do a post about it. I found some disturbing stuff.
Not about penguins. Their mating habits are fairly bland, even the homosexual ones. They mate, the female lays an egg and passes it to the male, who sits on it for about two months. The egg hatches, and the female returns and raises the chick. Penguins do not mate for life, but will stay with a single mate for each season, sometimes choosing the same mate several years in a row. No, the shocking stuff had to do with ducks. I quote here:
"While he was sitting in his office at the Natuurmuseum Rotterdam, [Dutch researcher Kees] Moeliker heard the distinctive thud of a bird hitting the glass facade of the building. Upon inspection, he discovered a drake mallard lying dead about two meters from the building. Next to the downed bird there was a second drake mallard standing close by. As he observed the odd couple, the living drake picked at the corpse of the dead one for a few minutes and then, without provocation, it mounted the corpse and began copulating with it. The act of necrophilia lasted for about 75 minutes, in which time, according to Moeliker, the living drake took two short breaks before resuming with copulating behavior."As I said in a comment I left on this blog elsewhere yesterday, I don't care if that's natural or not, that's just sick. And that's the issue I want to address here. All of those people who, regardless of what socio-political position they are taking, try to make a point for something being the "correct", "natural" or even just "acceptable" way of doing things by pointing to a parallel in the animal kingdom need to consider what sort of things they may be flinging the door wide open to.
I made this rant years ago in a discussion forum in the middle of an argument on whether or not homosexuality is natural. Both sides were trying to argue from the behavior of animals for their side, and I had to butt in and point out some of the things I will point out here.
Let's talk about animal sexual behavior, shall we? One very common strategy among animals is to reproduce with as many different partners as possible. While typically most people think of this as a male strategy, many studies have shown that females also choose this behavior. Some birds have been shown to pick a primary mate and then, when her primary mate is out fetching food, she invites in other males behind his back so to speak to fertilize an egg or two. So, cheating on your spouse that you've pledged monogamy to? Totally natural!
Of course, how are you going to get away with this sort of "cheating"? I recently saw a documentary on cuttlefish, who turn out to be very intelligent and adaptive creatures. During mating season, some species of cuttlefish, who have the ability to change the color of their skin, will change their behavior over from using their chameleon-like abilities to hide from predators to putting on shows of bright, flashy skin to show off to females. Often the dominant male will put himself between the local female that everyone is vying for and all the other males, blocking them off from access. Smaller males, who have no chance of fighting off the alpha male (or whatever cuttlefish biologists would call him) will use their ability to change their appearance to instead pretend to be a female, and thus gain access to the guarded female. Let's call that cross-dressing to get undetected access to the girls' locker room, eh? Let's also call it natural and acceptable.
Among many species (including humans to some extent), it's common for the females to be unable and/or unwilling to mate while still raising children. Suppose you're a lion who sees an attractive female who would otherwise be available if not for the fact that she's got a couple cubs with her. What are you going to do about it? Correct! You kill the cubs and then invite her back to your place for a lovely evening of candlelight, wine and fresh gazelle carcass. Killing your mate's children by a previous partner? Must be the right thing to do, as it occurs in nature. (Not to mention several species in which males will attack pregnant females in order to induce them to miscarry.)
But why stop at killing your mate's offspring? How many times have you found yourself in the mood for a little snack after some hanky-panky? You might wish that your mate would go and fetch you a snack, but then... Well, some spiders (although apparently not as many as is commonly believed) and other insects, particularly the mantises have an interesting solution to this dilemma: let your mate be your snack! Really, after you've got what you want from them for the purposes of pleasure/reproduction, aren't they just a meal waiting to happen? I mean, in nature, every living thing is eventually eaten, so why not be eaten by your own kind? What's more natural than that?
The thing is, you could find an example of just about any behavior (sexual or otherwise) somewhere in nature. A female ("queen") bee will typically mate with about a dozen males during a single day when it comes time for her to mate, and in the process, she castrates each of them, causing their death. Some species of wasps lay their eggs in live spiders, which then hatch out and eat the spiders. I was not aware of it until I researched some of this on Wikipedia, but apparently some dolphins participate in behaviors that among humans would be called "gang rape".
My point in all of this? Simple. We are human beings, and not any other type of animal, so there is simply no sense in comparing ourselves to any other type of animal. In nature, anything that can happen does, and there's no point in calling it justification for anything.