June 30, 2009 • 5:41 pm
Scientists Elated, Fearful Over Discovery of New Species
Dominick and Andre: trying to conceive for years. Dominick says sometimes Andre just sits up at night crying.
Near the Ross Sea, Antarctica - Scientists studying wildlife here on the antarctic ice shelf were overjoyed recently at what many believe to be the discovery of a new breed of penguin.
Known by their scientific moniker Aptenodytes Fabulous, the penguins are believed to be the first known example in nature of an almost exclusively homosexual species. “It’s a thrilling day for science,” said Dr. Ethel Weinhiemer, part of an expedition from the British Zoological Society. Dr. Weinhiemer says she started suspecting the existence of the new breed when groups of female penguins would follow her for hours whenever she wore plaid flannel shirts.
Some debate still lingers as to whether the penguins truly represent a new branch on the phylogenic tree or whether they are simply members of a more abundant species that have migrated from their home colonies to seek their own fortunes.
Apart from their sexual proclivities the penguins are easily identified by their extravagant and brightly colored nests.
But amid the celebrations came notes of concern. Numbers of the penguins are said to be dwindling rapidly and that has scientists and conservationists alarmed. “We are hoping to learn so much from these gentle and beautiful animals,” said Dr. Weinheimer, “but at the current rate of population loss they may not be around in another decade.”
Despite the fact that the penguins “fornicate like ferrets locked in a Viagra factory” Dr. Weinheimer says the animals seem unable to reproduce. “We just don’t understand what’s not working here,” she said.