14/01/2016 12:25 PM AEDT | Updated 15/07/2016 12:51 PM AEST

This Kangaroo Farewell Photo Could Be Much Creepier Than You Think

A touching photograph showing the heart-wrenching moment a kangaroo held its dying buddy went viral this week but experts are suggesting there's more to this tail than meets the eye.

The male kangaroo was snapped at River Heads in Queensland seemingly holding up a mother kangaroo so she could say goodbye to her joey as she died.

But Australian Museum principal research scientist Mark Eldridge, however, said the photos were "fundamentally misinterpreted".

"This is a male trying to get a female to stand up so he can mate with her," he said in a blog post.

"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)."

There you have it. Romance isn't alive and well in the animal kingdom. Or as chef Adam Liaw puts it "that's why you should never try to anthropomorphise animals by projecting human emotions".