"At a conference for young conservatives, the editor of National Review urged participants to see the movie ['March of the Penguins'] because it promoted monogamy. A widely circulated Christian magazine said it made "a strong case for intelligent design," according to a New York Times article.
Actually, there is a simple evolutionary reason for why penguins and other cold-climate birds tend towards monogamy: for a penguin chick to be produced, the incubating egg must be kept warm at all times. This means that someone has to be sitting on the nest constantly -- which would prove problematic if only a single parent were there to do it. After all, the parent must eat (usually fish in the case of cold-climate seabirds, which means extended time away from the nest). The way around this problem is to have the parents either take turns sitting on the nest, or one bird helping to feed their partner. As seen with the mourning doves depicted earlier, there are usually some very practical, survival-of-the-species reasons for monogamous partnerships in birds.
And it isn't necessarily lifetime monogamy, either. The emperor penguins depicted in the movie are actually "serial monogamists" -- that is, they tend to change partners after raising the season's brood. Again, this is adaptive to those particular species' lifestyles.
Mewonders what their take would be on a documentary about the garish and polygamous tropical birds of paradise, in which the females raise the young along. Presumably, the climate allows for single-parent nesting.
Richard A. Blake, co-director of the film studies program at Boston College and the author of "The Lutheran Milieu of the Films of Ingmar Bergman" said that like many films, "March of the Penguins" was open to a religious interpretation.
"You get a sense of these animals - following their natural instincts - are really exercising virtue that for humans would be quite admirable," he said. "I could see it as a statement on monogamy or condemnation of gay marriage or whatever the current agenda is."
Apparently, Mr. Blake never heard of the Central Park Penguins, but I digress. The reason for "following their instincts", of course, is due to the natural stabilizing factors inherent in any wild-living species: successful reproductive strategies survive. Individuals with strong parental instincts raise offspring to maturity. Unsuccessful ones don't. ...They die, or don't reproduce themselves. Hence you get a more uniformly-behaved wild animal population.
Eventually I'll get around to discussing the irony of how religious-based social mandates are actually detrimental to the population in this regard, so... stay tuned!