Penguins May Have Discovered the Key to Domestic Bliss

Illustration for article titled Penguins May Have Discovered the Key to Domestic Bliss
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Even the happiest couples seem to want to throttle each other from time to time, but what if we took a cue from nature? And no, I am not talking about the 97 percent of nature that’s non-monogamous/devours its spouse immediately post-coitus. I’m talking about penguins!


According to research from the journal Current Biology, penguins do tend to be faithful to their partners, making them something of an anomaly in the animal kingdom. But penguins also acknowledge that you cannot be expected to birth a dozen penguinlets, fish for eight hours a day and still want to have fiery penguin sex every night.

Instead, the journal reports, they go on nice, long breaks. The study looked at 14 Magellanic penguins living at the southern tip of Argentina, and found that the females tend to travel more than 600 miles north in search of food. When they do eventually come back, they return to the same partner they left behind, refreshed and ready to get back to it.

That’s the uplifting part, but of course, there’s a dark side: Each year, more and more female penguins are getting stranded along the coast, and researchers finally figured out that it’s because the females are the ones going farther afield in search of the damn food. Obviously climate change, pollution and injuries from fishing equipment have also been found to play a role.

Many of the penguins never make it back to their partners at all; the ones that do are probably so exhausted from their journeys that they can’t even muster the strength to trade up. Yep, this sounds right.


This is...confusing. I’m really not sure what the relatively well known breeding and feeding habits of penguins has to do with human relationships, and certainly the severe impact of climate change and the evolutionary development of female penguins giving birth then leaving to feed while the male penguin incubates and guards the offspring has little to nothing to do with human relationships or domestic bliss.

Yeah, I know, PARTY POOPER! but it’s a slow day and I’m super tired and I guess I don’t get the joke :(