The strange case of the homosexual necrophiliac duck pushed out the boundaries of knowledge in a rather improbable way when it was recorded by Dutch researcher Kees Moeliker.
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It may have ruffled a few feathers, but it earned him the coveted Ig Nobel prize for biology awarded for improbable research, and next week he will be recounting his findings to UK audiences on the Ig Nobel tour.
Ducks behave pretty badly, it seems. It is not so much that up to one in 10 of mallard couples are homosexual – no one would raise an eyebrow in the liberal Netherlands – but they regularly indulge in “attempted rape flights” when they pursue other ducks with a view to forcible mating. “Rape is a normal reproductive strategy in mallards,” explains Mr Moeliker.