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That kangaroo 'cradling his dying mate's head' wasn't grieving - he was aroused

They are the images that have a nation in tears.

Tears that then flowed around the globe as the image of a kangaroo cradling his mate’s head as she lays dying went viral overnight.

Here he is, holding her head up so she can look upon her joey’s face one last time before passing on:

Picture: Evan Switzer

“The joey stared at his mother and touched her softly, before standing protectively near her body,” one obituary read.

Photographer Evan Switzer caught the shots as he was taking a morning walk at River Heads, in Queensland, and shared them with the Fraser Coast Chronicle. You can see more here.

“He would lift her up and she wouldn’t stand she’d just fall to the ground, he’d nudge her, stand besides her,” he told the Daily Mail.

” … it was a pretty special thing, he was just mourning the loss of his mate.”

Switzer was right – it was a pretty special thing. The kind of “special thing” that led to the joey’s existence, according to AM Principal Research Scientist Dr Mark Eldridge.

“…this is a male trying to get a female to stand up so he can mate with her,” he wrote today on the Australian Museum’s blog.

“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).”

Switzer himself has read the comments this morning and told Business Insider he was happy to learn the truth behind the phenomenon.

“It answers a lot of questions. I’m no kangaroo expert and I didn’t see it that way,” he said.

“It seems a bit creepy that he wanted something like that from a dead female, but after reading (the explanation), it sounds good to me.

“I just saw him losing his mate, but… it’s not love, it’s sex.”

Damn you nature.

But still, amazing shots.

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