Thursday, July 28, 2005

Animals Afflicted With "The Gayness"

In his book "Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity," Seattle biologist Bruce Bagemihl estimates 450 species display some form of homosexuality, which can include same-sex courtship, displays of affection, sexual activity, long-term pairings and parenting.
It also makes you wonder how many gay species became extinct when Noah accidently picked the wrong species representatives for his ark.
• Young male killer-whales engage in what might be described as a ribald form of fencing.

• Up to 15 percent of Western gull pairs are females. The birds woo each other with gifts of food and form bonds that last for years. They build joint nests and tend clutches of unfertilized eggs. Occasionally, one or both females will mate with males, but they always raise their young together.

• In some penguin species, males form lifelong same-sex partnerships — especially in captivity. A pair named Roy and Silo in New York's Central Park Zoo incubated rocks until keepers gave them an egg of their own.

• A Corvallis flock of sheep includes a group of rams that scientists delicately refer to as "male-oriented." These animals consistently ignore females and bestow all their amorous attentions on members of their own sex.

• Male giraffes spend most of their time in bachelor groups, where they entwine necks and rub against each other for up to an hour at a time. These "necking" sessions often culminate in mounting, and can outnumber heterosexual encounters 9 to 1.
I am reminded of this exchange between Samantha Bee of the Daily Show and a biologist on this one:
"Just because something happens in nature, doesn't make it natural."
"Um, I think by definition, that it actually does."
Via The Seattle Times and another Seattle Times article

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