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Homosexuality in Penguins and the Advantage

Nature is always throwing science off, when it comes to homosexuality in nature, it is seen  throughout many species with penguins being the best example. When looking at homosexual penguin couples, they will do the same thing as a heterosexual couple, hatch an egg and raise offspring. This is seen around the world in many zoos and aquariums. 

Many zoos have observed what a homosexual couple will do with an egg, finding out the behavior of the two. It’s been observed that homosexual penguins will steal an egg from another couple, articles from NBC News and Smithsonian Magazine have expressed how this act has been executed many times. This behavior isn’t rare, though due to not being able to recognize the difference between male and female because of the small differences, we’re not fully sure how often penguins are homosexual in nature. 

Written by Wilson Wong, NBC News had reported a homosexual couple who had stolen an egg the previous year and in 2020 they stole another egg from a lesbian couple, in a Dutch zoo called DierenPark Amersfoort. These penguins were very persistent in raising a young, we don’t fully understand why this is seen as ‘acceptable’ in a penguins behavior. 

Monya Relles wrote for the Hitchcock Center, an article that explained how when there are homosexual penguins, they will contribute to their species by taking care of abandoned eggs. It’s pretty obvious that homosexual penguins can’t reproduce, but due to nature they need or want an offspring. Penguins will sometimes abandon their young and when the homosexual penguins find that egg, they contribute to their species by taking care of a young who would’ve had no chance. It’s also been seen that homosexual penguins will use rocks to simulate their desire for offspring. 

Margaret Osborne reported for Smithsonian magazine about Elmer and Lima. At Rosamond Gifford Zoo, many penguins were needing foster parents because of the behavior that they displayed with their eggs. Some would sit next to the egg without incubating it, others would accidentally break their egg and sometimes the couples would fight over who was gonna sit on the egg next. This wasn’t ideal for the penguins because of the survival rate of the offspring. 

Rosamond Gifford Zoo, decided to take a step in a different direction and give the homosexual couple Elmer and Lima a fake egg. They would go on to be given a real egg because of their incredible care for the dummy egg. No fighting, no breaking of the egg, good incubation and one healthy baby chick, this all happened in the December of 2021 with the young penguin being born on New Year's Day 2022. 

There are many animals that could help humans have a better understanding of sexuality and even gender. Penguins as homosexuals aren’t incapable of survival or raising young, the only issue is that they can’t reproduce on their own. These creatures foster other eggs or kidnap someone else’s eggs. Both male and female take turns with certain jobs as parents, so this system provides fluctuation for homosexuality to work. It’s the same in humans, two men or two women are capable of raising young because both parents, regardless of gender, take care of their young. 

Magazine, S. (2022, February 1). Meet Elmer and Lima, a same-sex penguin couple fostering a chick at a syracuse zoo. 

Carstens, E. A., 2, :)                                      April, 13, mlm A., 9, P. M., 25, D. D. D. A., 15, Z. N., 14, L. F. J., 14, zooeyhall F., & Name. (2021, February 22). What’s with all the gay penguins? Museum Studies at Tufts University. 

NBCUniversal News Group. (2020, October 23). Gay male penguins steal lesbian couple’s eggs at Dutch Zoo.  

Gay Penguins, mutual aid and the myth of survival of the fittest. Hitchcock Center for the Environment | Education for a Healthy Planet. (n.d.). 

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