Feeds

Boffin honoured for necrophile gay duck paper

Ig Nobel Laureate UK tour kicks off

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

High performance access to file storage

A Dutch researcher has been honoured for his illuminating research into necrophiliac gay ducks - a hitherto unprobed side of animal behaviour which rather eclipses recent work on homosexual sheep and stroppy cows.

According to the Guardian, Kees Moeliker's paper "The first case of homosexual necrophilia in the mallard anas platyrhynchos" gives humanity the first insight into the dark, dark world of ducks. He was apparently sitting in his office in the Natuurmuseum Rotterdam when a rather daffy duck impacted with his window. Moeliker takes up the story:

I went downstairs immediately to see if the window was damaged, and saw a drake mallard (anas platyrhynchos) lying motionless on its belly in the sand, two metres outside the facade. The unfortunate duck apparently had hit the building in full flight at a height of about three metres from the ground. Next to the obviously dead duck, another male mallard (in full adult plumage without any visible traces of moult) was present. He forcibly picked into the back, the base of the bill and mostly into the back of the head of the dead mallard for about two minutes, then mounted the corpse and started to copulate, with great force, almost continuously picking the side of the head.

Rather startled, I watched this scene from close quarters behind the window until 19.10 hours during which time (75 minutes) I made some photographs and the mallard almost continuously copulated his dead congener. He dismounted only twice, stayed near the dead duck and picked the neck and the side of the head before mounting again. The first break (at 18.29 hours) lasted three minutes and the second break (at 18.45 hours) lasted less than a minute. At 19.12 hours, I disturbed this cruel scene. The necrophilic mallard only reluctantly left his 'mate': when I had approached him to about five metres, he did not fly away but simply walked off a few metres, weakly uttering a series of two-note 'raeb-raeb' calls (the 'conversation-call' of Lorentz 1953). I secured the dead duck and left the museum at 19.25 hours. The mallard was still present at the site, calling 'raeb-raeb' and apparently looking for his victim (who, by then, was in the freezer).

However, before those readers who have written in recently to express their outrage at funding into preposterous animal research programmes completely blow a gasket, we should note that Moeliker has in fact received a Ig Nobel prize for biology - awarded for particularly improbable research.

Previous Ig Nobel laureates include Ben Wilson of the University of British Columbia, Lawrence Dill of Simon Fraser University [Canada], Robert Batty of the Scottish Association for Marine Science, Magnus Whalberg of the University of Aarhus [Denmark], and Hakan Westerberg of Sweden's National Board of Fisheries, for showing that herrings apparently communicate by farting, and Steven Stack of Wayne State University, Detroit, Michigan, USA and James Gundlach of Auburn University, Auburn, Alabama, USA, for their published report "The Effect of Country Music on Suicide."

Moeliker himself won his particular gong in 2003, but such is his contribution to the advancement of science that he will next week be wowing audiences around the UK on the Ig Nobel tour. Farting herring expert Robert Batty will also be present at some or all of the events. Full details here. ®

Related research

Cows bear grudges: official
Aussie boffins probe lesbian cows
Sheep pine for absent friends: official
Sheep like happy, smiley people: official
Inside the mind of the gay sheep

High performance access to file storage

More from The Register

next story
Video games make you NASTY AND VIOLENT
Especially if you are bad at them and keep losing
Russian deputy PM: 'We are coming to the Moon FOREVER'
Plans to annex Earth's satellite with permanent base by 2030
Solar-powered aircraft unveiled for round-the-world flight
It's going to be a slow and sleepy flight for the pilots
LOHAN's Punch and Judy show relaunches Thursday
Weather looking good for second pop at test flights
Discovery time for 200m WONDER MATERIALS shaved from 4 MILLENNIA... to 4 years
Alloy, Alloy: Boffins in speed-classification breakthrough
India's GPS alternative launches second satellite
Closed satnav system due to have all seven birds aloft by 2016
Curiosity finds not-very-Australian-shaped rock on Mars
File under 'messianic pastries' and move on, people
Top Secret US payload launched into space successfully
Clandestine NRO spacecraft sets off on its unknown mission
prev story

Whitepapers

Mainstay ROI - Does application security pay?
In this whitepaper learn how you and your enterprise might benefit from better software security.
Five 3D headsets to be won!
We were so impressed by the Durovis Dive headset we’ve asked the company to give some away to Reg readers.
3 Big data security analytics techniques
Applying these Big Data security analytics techniques can help you make your business safer by detecting attacks early, before significant damage is done.
The benefits of software based PBX
Why you should break free from your proprietary PBX and how to leverage your existing server hardware.
Mobile application security study
Download this report to see the alarming realities regarding the sheer number of applications vulnerable to attack, as well as the most common and easily addressable vulnerability errors.