A pamphlet detailing the "perverted" and "degenerate" tendencies of penguins has been uncovered nearly a hundred years after the paper's author decided not to publish his findings.
The 4-page paper was written during the famous terra Nova expedition of 1910-13 in which Navy Captain Robert Falcon Scott vied to be the first expedition to reach the South Pole. He unfortunately arrived second after another vessel, piloted by Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen, arrived earlier.
Aboard the vessel led by Scott was a biologist named George Levick. His observations of Adelie penguins would be the basis for his paper, "Sexual Habits of Adélie Penguins," in which he described his own disturbing reaction to seeing the animals engage in necrophilia, homosexual acts and rape.
The paper was uncovered by Douglas Russell, a curator at the Natural History Museum in Tring, England and was recently published in the journal Polar Record.
"As the curator of bird's eggs and nests at the Natural History Museum and having had a long-standing interest in polar research, I knew of George Murray Levick and that this was, as the header suggested, fascinating but totally unpublished work," Russell told LiveScience.com.
During his time at the South Pole Levick observed the animals in their natural habitat and was the first person to discover the penguins' colony on Oct. 13, 1911.
"Some of the things he noticed profoundly shocked him," Russell said.
Levick observed the penguin's actions which included necrophilia, sexual abuse of chicks, non-procreative sex and homosexual behaviors.
One entry form his work describes when an injured female was noticed by a male and "after a short inspection he deliberately raped her, she being quite unable to resist him."
Levicks work was considered to incendiary to be published at the time so he only gave out a few copies to other academics.
"Levick's notes were decades ahead of their time and possibly the first ever attempt to reveal the more challenging aspects of bird behavioral strategies to the academic world … I'm very pleased that, 97 years after Levick submitted it for publication, the study has finally been published," Russell said.
Animal experts point put the fact that while Levick was certainly ahead of his time, animal behavior is far better understood today than a century ago, noting that some species instinctually try to mate with an animal of breeding age.