DRAPER, Utah -- The modern arbiter of conventional wisdom, Wikipeidia, says Gentoo penguins are monogamous and "Infidelity is punished by banishment."
It's not so, says a new study based in Utah.
The study published in the scientific journal "Zoobiology" was conducted at the Loveland Living Planet Aquarium by their zoologists and by a biology professor and students at Utah Valley University.
They tested the DNA of eight penguin chicks born at the aquarium and found out they had a feathered Casanova on their hands.
His name is Roto. Previously thought to be the faithful mate to Copper and father to their three children, it turns out Roto is actually father to two other chicks with two other...female penguins.
And the mates of those female penguins were apparently none the wiser, staying with their penguin wives and raising the kids as their own.
"It's really unrealistic to expect birds to be perfectly faithful to their spouses so to speak," said Assistant Professor of Biology at UVU Eric Domyan.
While that is a thoroughly unromantic statement, it expresses a new understanding of penguins, at least Gentoo penguins in captivity, and it will likely lead to more studies and different methods of pairing penguins to insure that captive flocks remain genetically healthy.