Skip to comments.Do Gay Animals Change Evolution?
Posted on 06/18/2009 7:42:41 AM PDT by JoeProBono
Homosexual behavior seems pointedly un-Darwinian. An animal that doesn't pass along genes by mating with the opposite sex at every, well, conceivable opportunity, seems to be at an evolutionary disadvantage. So what’s in it for the 450-plus species that go for same-sex sex?
Two evolutionary biologists from University of California, Riverside, set out to answer that question in a paper published today in Trends in Ecology and Evolution.
"It's been observed a lot," says Nathan Bailey, a post-doctoral researcher at U.C. Riverside and lead study author, of same-sex sexual behavior in animals. "But it took people a long time to put it in an evolutionary context."
After studying dozens of published articles on the topic, Bailey and his colleague Marlene Zuk concluded that, in addition to being an adaptational strategy, "these behaviors can be a force," Bailey said. "They create a context in which selection can occur [differently] within a population."
In the Laysan albatross, for example, previous research has shown that a third of all bonded pairs in a Hawaii colony are two females. This behavior helps the birds, whose colony has far more females than males, by allowing them to share parenting responsibilities. It also gives more stability to the offspring of males, already bonded to a female, who mate opportunistically with females in a same-sex couple. Such a dynamic, then may force gradual changes in behavior and even physical appearance of the birds, the authors note.
Other researchers, however, aren't convinced that everything must fit into the evolutionary, adaptive rubric. "You have to think outside of that," says Paul Vasey, who studies Japanese macaque monkeys as an associate professor at the University of Lethbridge in Canada.
PROSPERING GAY ANIMALS: Male chinstrap penguins, such as the famous Roy and Silo of the Central Park Zoo, have paired and even cared for eggs.
Sure glad there is no gay agenda around, to turn into an obsession.....and grant money.
I was under the impression that animals only engaged in homosexual activity only if there are no other animals of the opposite sex around....
Gay animals are as real as unicorns and 3 headed tigers.
I don’t think the question should lie in a gay-straight context. As they mention some, or perhaps most, same sex pairing is for benefits outside of sex. In fact they don’t seem to mention sex at all. Looking at their definition of things it appears that you could say two human male roommates who do get an apartment together, share bills and food are gay when they obviously are not.
But... but... the Scientific Establishment[tm] has a tight-knit cabal that rigidly excludes such heretical thoughts! That's what all the creationist threads on FR say, anyway....
homosexuality can offer benefits to caring for offspring, strengthening group cohesion, quelling conflicts, establishing a hierarchy.
but it's not like a dude lion goes cruising for another dude lion. think about it. if you are a gay human male and you help raise your nieces and nephews, aren't you passing on your genetic material? of course you are since you share a fair amount with the offspring of your siblings.
Hmmm, interesting how the author states that it creates “gradual changes in behavior and appearance” in the albatross species studied. I’m obviously not a scientist, but I notice those changes seem to happen with the human species as well!
No, but they do decorate it nicely, though.
Animals have URGES! So gays are comparing themselves to animals? My male dog humps my leg (I am a male) does that mean we are gay? No, it’s a PERVERTED urge...PERIOD!
Hey if you want to spin "Gay" as normal for a reason then let spin... you can play at this game many ways
Not that there's anything wrong with that.
Sounds like quite the opportunity!
Agree. Most long time “lesbian” couples I’ve known are more androgenous companions sharing resources, supporting one another’s survival it seems.
Many times beginning on the gay path due to systematic rejection from males (chastity bono) or traumatic early abuse by a male(s. I do not believe at all that most lesbians are biochemically homosexual. They are psychologically single-gender cooperative.
These lesbian setups are more about support, loyalty. Much, much less about sex.
It depends on the species. Some appear to engage in homosexual conduct for a variety of reasons and lacking opposite sex partners appears to be low down on that list for some of them.
Note that these are not "gay animals", because they are having sex with the opposite sex and getting pregnant. They simply are living in a different social environment.
There were and still are tribes of humans where the men pretty much just get food and have sex, and the woman all live together and raise the kids and care for them. That's not "homosexual".
Homosexual is when a person only wants to have sex with the same sex. And that won't work for Evolution.
BTW, I'm surprised more animals, especially males, don't have both hetero and homosexual sex. After all, masturbation is hard without hands, and the females may not always be around, and if you have no "morality", any hole will do for sexual gratification.
It is no surprise that animals might have sex in "inappropriate" ways. They are animals, after all.
But surprisingly, most animals don't seem to be as bad on that score as humans.
...and take up lots of FR bandwidth.
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