Pebble Proposal

Pebble Proposal

BY : Rhiannon Nevinczenko

Imagine it: You’ve spruced up your bachelor pad, you’re all fixed up in your tuxedo, and you’ve picked out the perfect stone to propose with. Except, the stone is not a diamond and, by the way, your intended is also wearing a tuxedo. You are an Adélie penguin, and the stone is the smoothest pebble you could find on the chilly patches of exposed rock along the coast of Antarctica. Adélie penguins (pictured) have one of the most charming courtship rituals in the animal kingdom. The male builds a nest of pebbles (favoring smooth ones), and performs a courtship display to get a female’s attention. He offers the best pebble he can to the female as a proposal. If she accepts, they mate for life (usually). Why do Adélie penguins go to such pains to find a smooth pebble, specifically? Because when your environment is made of rock and snow, a mound of smooth pebbles is the coziest thing around to keep your eggs off the ice. We hope everyone who celebrates has a happy and safe Valentine’s Day!
Photo credit: Li Padgham via Flickr. CC BY 2.0.

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