Same-sex penguin parents Electra and Viola hatch a chick together and it's just adorable.
via Heather Hogan / Twitter

One of the common reasons homophobic people give for being against homosexuality is that it's "unnatural." However, they are totally wrong. Research shows that homosexuality doesn't just occur among humans, but throughout the animal kingdom.

According to Yale University, homosexuality has been observed in approximately 10% of "prevailing species throughout the world."

At first glance, the prevalence of homosexuality seems to work against Darwin's theory of evolution. Animals that prefer same-sex relationships are likely to reproduce and pass their genetic traits to the next generation.

But according to Yale, same-sex partnerships can have a positive effect on a species' survival because of their social benefits.


"Same-sex pairing in many species actually alleviates the likelihood of divorce and curtails the pressure on the opposite sex by allowing members to exhibit more flexibility to form partnerships, which in turn strengthens social bonds and reduces competition," Arash Fereydooni writes.

Given the inherent naturalness of same-sex coupling, the Oceanogràfic València aquarium in Spain allowed a pair of female Gentoo penguins, Electra and Viola, to adopt another penguin's egg after employees saw them displaying nesting behaviors.

Caregivers at the aquarium noticed the couple gathering stones in preparation for an egg so they knew they'd be perfect parents. After the couple received the egg, they took turns standing over the egg, incubating it until after a little over a month, it hatched a healthy chick.

Caregivers at the aquarium have called the two an "an exceptional pair."

The penguins will work together to raise the baby bird for about 75 days until it becomes independent.

via faith / Twitter

The same-sex penguin adoption is a first for Oceanogràfic València, but the aquarium says it's fairly common.

In 2018, a pair of gay male penguins at the Sydney Sea Life Aquarium caught the world's attention by raising an egg together. After noticing that Sphen and Magic had built an intense relationship together, caregivers gave them a fake egg to incubate.

They knew the relationship was real when the penguins sang to each other.

"You would see Magic standing in his spot looking for Sphen, and he would call and Sphen would come running over and give Magic a little bow and sing as well," Tish Hannan, head of penguin supervision at the aquarium, told The Independent. "They've chosen each other. That's it. They're bonded now."

The pair did such a good job they were given a real egg to incubate and they raised it until it successfully.

The gay penguins' relationship was even more important because it happened while Australia was having a heated political debate over gay human marriage. Eventually, same-sex couples won the right to marry Down Under.

In the end, love is love, and whether human or penguin, a portion of the population is going to be gay. So, if anyone ever tells you that same-sex relationships are unnatural, let 'em know that being gay is not only natural, but beneficial to the survival of the species.





Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
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Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

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"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

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A few years a go, American singer-songwriter Yebba Smith shared a solo a capella version of a part of "Bridge Over Troubled Water," in which she just casually sits and sings it on a bed. It's an impressive rendition on its own, highlighting Yebba's soulful, effortless voice.

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Images courtesy of John Scully, Walden University, Ingrid Scully
True

Since March of 2020, over 29 million Americans have been diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the CDC. Over 540,000 have died in the United States as this unprecedented pandemic has swept the globe. And yet, by the end of 2020, it looked like science was winning: vaccines had been developed.

In celebration of the power of science we spoke to three people: an individual, a medical provider, and a vaccine scientist about how vaccines have impacted them throughout their lives. Here are their answers:

John Scully, 79, resident of Florida

Photo courtesy of John Scully

When John Scully was born, America was in the midst of an epidemic: tens of thousands of children in the United States were falling ill with paralytic poliomyelitis — otherwise known as polio, a disease that attacks the central nervous system and often leaves its victims partially or fully paralyzed.

"As kids, we were all afraid of getting polio," he says, "because if you got polio, you could end up in the dreaded iron lung and we were all terrified of those." Iron lungs were respirators that enclosed most of a person's body; people with severe cases often would end up in these respirators as they fought for their lives.

John remembers going to see matinee showings of cowboy movies on Saturdays and, before the movie, shorts would run. "Usually they showed the news," he says, "but I just remember seeing this one clip warning us about polio and it just showed all these kids in iron lungs." If kids survived the iron lung, they'd often come back to school on crutches, in leg braces, or in wheelchairs.

"We all tried to be really careful in the summer — or, as we called it back then, 'polio season,''" John says. This was because every year around Memorial Day, major outbreaks would begin to emerge and they'd spike sometime around August. People weren't really sure how the disease spread at the time, but many believed it traveled through the water. There was no cure — and every child was susceptible to getting sick with it.

"We couldn't swim in hot weather," he remembers, "and the municipal outdoor pool would close down in August."

Then, in 1954 clinical trials began for Dr. Jonas Salk's vaccine against polio and within a year, his vaccine was announced safe. "I got that vaccine at school," John says. Within two years, U.S. polio cases had dropped 85-95 percent — even before a second vaccine was developed by Dr. Albert Sabin in the 1960s. "I remember how much better things got after the vaccines came out. They changed everything," John says.

Keep Reading Show less