Homosexuality is quite common in the animal kingdom, especially among herding animals. Many animals solve conflicts by practicing same gender sex.
From the middle of October until next summer the Norwegian Natural History Museum of the University of Oslo will host the first exhibition that focuses on homosexuality in the animal kingdom.
"One fundamental premise in social debates has been that homosexuality is unnatural. This premise is wrong. Homosexuality is both common and highly essential in the lives of a number of species," explains Petter Boeckman, who is the academic advisor for the "Against Nature's Order?" exhibition.
The most well-known homosexual animal is the dwarf chimpanzee, one of humanity's closes relatives. The entire species is bisexual. Sex plays an conspicuous roll in all their activities and takes the focus away from violence, which is the most typical method of solving conflicts among primates and many other animals.Lions are also homosexual. Male lions often band together with their brothers to lead the pride. To ensure loyalty, they strengthen the bonds by often having sex with each other.
Homosexuality is also quite common among dolphins and killer whales. The pairing of males and females is fleeting, while between males, a pair can stay together for years. Homosexuality is a social phenomenon and is most widespread among animals with a complex herd life.Homosexual behavior has been observed in 1,500 animal species.
Animals that live a completely homosexual life can also be found. This occurs especially among birds that will pair with one partner for life, which is the case with geese and ducks. Four to five percent of the couples are homosexual. Single females will lay eggs in a homosexual pair's nest. It has been observed that the homosexual couple are often better at raising the young than heterosexual couples.
Indeed, there is a number of animals in which homosexual behavior has never been observed, such as many insects, passerine birds and small mammals.
"To turn the approach on its head: No species has been found in which homosexual behavior has not been shown to exist, with the exception of species that never have sex at all, such as sea urchins and aphis. Moreover, a part of the animal kingdom is hermaphroditic, truly bisexual. For them, homosexuality is not an issue."
Petter Bockman regrets that there is too little research about homosexuality among animals.
"The theme has long been taboo. The problem is that researchers have not seen for themselves that the phenomenon exists or they have been confused when observing homosexual behavior or that they are fearful of being ridiculed by their colleagues. Many therefore overlook the abundance of material that is found. Many researchers have described homosexuality as something altogether different from sex. They must realize that animals can have sex with who they will, when they will and without consideration to a researcher's ethical principles."
One example of overlooking behavior noted by Petter Bockman is a description of mating among giraffes, when nine out of ten pairings occur between males.
"Every male that sniffed a female was reported as sex, while anal intercourse with orgasm between males was only "revolving around" dominance, competition or greetings.http://www.uio.no
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