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Shvoong Home>Science>Zoology>Animals Can Be Gay: Study Summary

Animals Can Be Gay: Study

Article Summary   by:pratima avasthi     Original Author: Petter Bockman
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  Animals can be gay: Study

 New research suggests that animals can be gay too, defying Darwin's theory that the sexual impulses of animals are designed to cause reproduction and are therefore necessarily heterosexual.

The research, conducted on an albatross colony in the University of Hawaii, showed that one third of the 'pairs' who commit to each other for life consist of two females.
After mating with males, the pairs of females nest with their 'wives' and incubate their eggs together, reported telegraph.co.uk.

The exceptional trend had previously gone unnoticed as male and female albatrosses are virtually almost identical.
Said Petter Bockman, an expert on homosexuality in animals from the University of Oslo:b 'Sexuality is not just about making babies, it is also about making the flock work. For some animals, homosexuality is normal flock behaviour.'

Researchers and biologists claim 'gay' animal behaviour has been spotted in 1,500 different species and reliably recorded in one third of these cases. Behaviour that appears to be gay has been observed in giraffes, butterflies, koalas, dolphins, octopuses and sheep to name a few.

Scientists are divided over the significance of the findings.

Bruce Bahemihl, a gay biologist at the University of Wisconsin, said researchers assume animals are not gay because of a 'heterosexual bias'.
Others argue that animals are programmed to be heterosexual in order to survive.

Antonio Pardo, professor of bioethics at the University of Navarre, Spain, said: 'Homosexuality does not exist in animals. Nevertheless, the interaction of other instincts, such as dominance, can result in behaviour that appears to be homosexual.'

Professor Paul Harvey, head of zoology at the University of Oxford, said it is wrong to use examples of animals to support arguments over whether it is 'natural' to be gay.
'It is a huge mistake to think studying homosexuality in animals gives us a greater understanding of human behaviour. If you want to know why humans are gay, ask a human,' he said.

Published: May 19, 2010   
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