If you thought keeping track of your friends’ shifting relationship statuses was confusing, try making sense of the love lives of aquarium penguins. To help them better understand the complex, tangled web of penguin relationships, Tokyo’s Sumida Aquarium and Kyoto Aquarium have created flowcharts documenting the penguin romances of 2020.
To the layman, the flowcharts might appear more complex than the documents on a rocket scientist’s desk. But color-coded lines and symbols make it easy for aquarium staff to track the various penguin romances happening under their very noses. Red hearts, for example, signify couples, while purple lines with question marks indicate more complicated relationships. A blue, broken heart points to an affair, yellow lines mean friendship, and green connects enemies.
Shoko Okuda, a spokeswoman for the aquariums, told CNN, “We’d like more people to know that penguins are like us humans; each of them has individuality and they live in various relationships. What is written in the maps is based on everyday observations from the staff taking care of the penguins. By observing carefully, they could tell which penguins are couples or which couples are broken up.”
While the charts may not mean much to the casual observer — especially if you don’t read Japanese — they do provide an interesting insight into the romantic world of penguins.
And if you’ve ever frequented the bars in a small town, you might be able to relate to this chart more than most.