Monday, March 14, 2005

Animalistic urges revealed

What can one say?
Randy rock doves join party with the dead: "The sad tale of the Dutch homosexual necrophiliac duck last week inspired enormous interest among readers all over the world and researcher Kees Moeliker was soon fielding calls from the United States, Canada and a radio station in Belfast. has also elicited news of equally shocking behaviour in a British bird - recorded many years before the journal article that gained Dr Moeliker his coveted Ig Nobel prize for his discovery of the first case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard (anas platyrhynchos).

That most respectable journal, British Birds, reported in 1987 the case of a feral rock dove (more commonly known as the pigeon) run over at a traffic crossing in Settle, north Yorkshire, on June 23 1983. 'As soon as the traffic had cleared a second dove alighted by the corpse. Clearly a male, it began to 'parade' by the headless body, puffing out its chest and strutting back and forth.

'Despite receiving no response, it mounted the corpse and engaged in vigorous copulatory movements. It was so stimulated that it did not move when cars approached and a small queue of cars built up as the dove went through its energetic performance. It then flew off.'...

Dr Moeliker was fascinated to hear of this earlier publication - until Dr Adams came forward he thought the only other scholarly recording of necrophilia in the bird or animal world involved an American squirrel run over by a truck."
Lest you think naughty behavior is limited to fowl, check this item out:
If it seems bizarre that serious scientists in Scotland should publish a study of farting in herrings, how improbable is it that they were almost beaten into print by a team of Swedish researchers who had discovered the same phenomenon? But that's great minds for you....