Dr Mumbo

That kangaroo isn’t crying, he’s horny

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 8.53.38 amA photo of what appears to be a “grieving male kangaroo grasping on to the dying mother of a nearby joey” has been doing the rounds in the Aussie media today.

It’s published by a number of outlets including the Daily Mail, Guardian, New Daily and most notably News Corp Courier Mail, which splashed with it under the heartfelt headline “Tender-roo”. 

The photo was taken by Hervey Bay local Evan Switzer who told the media: “The kangaroo tried to lift her up and she wouldn’t stand, she’d just fall to the ground. He’d nudge her, stand beside her … it was a pretty special thing. He was just mourning the loss of his mate.”

Heartfelt stuff. Unfortunately it would appear none of these outlets thought to contact an animal expert to ask what was actually happening….

After seeing the pictures The Australian Museum’s principal research scientist Dr Mark Eldridge posted a blog explaining actually “they’re far more sinister” than they appear. 

Eldridge explains what appears to be the male lovingly “cradling the head” of the female as she dies, is actually him in a state of sexual arousal.

“Great photos of the kangaroos, but I think they are fundamentally misinterpreted,” Dr Eldridge writes.

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 11.59.01 am“The male is clearly highly stressed and agitated, his forearms are very wet from him licking himself to cool down. He is also sexually aroused: the evidence is here sticking out from behind the scrotum (yes in marsupials the penis is located behind the scrotum).”

He adds: “This is a male trying to get a female to stand up so he can mate with her.”

Ah. That certainly puts a different context on the quote from the man who took the photos Switzer who rather unfortunately told the Courier Mail: “When I came back, they were still there. The male would have been doing it for an hour or so.”

Even better is the spin it puts on some of the comments posted on social media around the “heartbreaking” images:

roo facebook courier mail

Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 12.08.31 pm Screen Shot 2016-01-14 at 12.08.39 pmScreen Shot 2016-01-14 at 12.07.42 pm

Maybe the headline should have been “Tender loving roo”.

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