England’s Natural History Museum at Tring recently rediscovered a 1915 report about penguin behavior that had been buried for almost 100 years — because it was considered too X-rated to be suitable for publication. Which, okay, yes, people from 1915 were prudish, but also, penguins are getting up to some freaky shit.

The four-page pamphlet, “Sexual Habits of Adélie Penguins,” is a report from Captain Robert Scott’s 1910-1913 expedition to the South Pole, where as you will no doubt recall Ensign Oates took all his clothes off and fought a giant electric penguin with tentacles.

But the penguin shenanigans only got weirder from there, according to the report by George Levick, the expedition’s medical officer. Penguin sodomy! Penguin necrophilia! Penguin incest! Guys, keep it in your pants, if you have an “it,” which I confess I’m not totally clear on! Maybe “it” is your electric tentacles.

Grist thanks its sponsors. Become one.

Actually, a lot of what Levick describes is actually pretty tame by today’s standards. Gay penguins? Yeah, no shit, we love them. They’re on T-shirts. Penguin masturbation? I’m comfortable with it. Penguin S&M? Even Newt Gingrich tilts that way. Penguin necrophilia? Well, okay, but then again gay duck necrophilia already won an Ig Nobel prize. Penguin incest? I made that up, there’s nothing about incest in the paper as far as I know.

So okay, maybe Adélie penguins aren’t that pervy — maybe they’re just modern. And now that human civilization has caught up to the penguin sexual revolution, Levick’s penguin porno is finally being published. Call it Fifty Shades of Black and White.

Reader support helps sustain our work. Donate today to keep our climate news free. All donations DOUBLED!