Do Animals Exhibit Homosexuality?

Arash Fereydooni March 14, 2012 19

Recent research has found that homosexual behavior in animals may be much more common than previously thought. Although Darwin’s theory of natural selection predicts an evolutionary disadvantage for animals that fail to pass along their traits through reproduction with the opposite sex, the validity of this part of his theory has been questioned with the discoveries of homosexual behavior in more than 10% of prevailing species throughout the world.

Human beings are not the only animals to exhibit homosexual behavior. Photo courtesy of the globalanimal.org.

Currently, homosexual behavior has been documented in over 450 different animal species worldwide. For instance, observations indicate that Humboldt, King, Gentoo, and Adélie penguins of the same sex engage in “mating rituals like entwining their necks and vocalizing to one another.” In addition, male giraffes have also been observed engaging in homosexual behavior by rubbing their necks against each others’ bodies while ignoring the females. Yet another example is lizards of the genus Teiidae, which can copulate with both male and female mates.

Biologists Nathan W. Bailey and Marlene Zuk from the University of California, Riverside have investigated the evolutionary consequences and implications of same-sex behavior, and their findings demonstrate benefits to what seems to be an evolutionary paradox. For example, their studies of the Laysan albatross show that female-female pairing can increase fitness by taking advantage of the excess of females and shortage of males in the population and provide superior care for offspring. Moreover, same-sex pairing in many species actually alleviates the likelihood of divorce and curtails the pressure on the opposite sex by allowing members to exhibit more flexibility to form partnerships, which in turn strengthens social bonds and reduces competition. Thus, not only do animals exhibit homosexuality, but the existence of this behavior is quite prevalent and may also confer certain evolutionary advantages.

19 Comments »

  1. eddandi July 3, 2013 at 7:14 PM - Reply

    so if i shake another guy’s hand – that’s homoexual behaviour?!?

    • Ricky Coleman January 7, 2014 at 4:55 PM - Reply

      No, shaking hands is not a display of homosexuality. But asking that question is a display of homophobia, don’t you think?

    • josh January 14, 2014 at 1:48 AM - Reply

      Yes, It is.

  2. Rich July 29, 2013 at 10:09 AM - Reply

    Well if shaking another guys hand was a courtship ritual than Yes. Some people may not like the idea that homosexuality is found elsewhere in nature, whilst homophobia isn’t. Celebrating diversity in nature as opposed to old dogmas.

  3. Jazmine August 2, 2013 at 11:23 PM - Reply

    I don’t understand why no ones ever mentioned this before? I understand homosexuality was taboo… it still is somewhat… but you’d think even recent scientific magazines since they are scientists would mention this homosexuality? From a few articles I’ve read it’s sometimes a display of dominance, unless of course it’s a male and a female and the female is “at that time of the month.”

  4. Happylada August 15, 2013 at 10:27 PM - Reply

    Sry to rain on this parade, but just where are the citations? Lots of statements, no proof. Where are the peer reviews? or is this simply another feel good piece for the ay crowd? remember the thalamus gland fraud? and how many people touited it as a scientific breakthrough?

    Totally made up by moving the shells around. Is this any better?

    And even IF this could be verified, so what. Animals rape, canibalize and abandon their young. Does that mean that humans should do the same?

    If Darwin’s theory contradicts the findings of this study, then it must assuredly be false.

    • equalityv January 7, 2014 at 2:27 PM - Reply

      The idea isnt that we should do those things because animals should(even though humans do the same and much worse.) The idea is that this fact makes it so that the “its not natural” arguement is complete bullshit. Also you do realize this is Yale Scientific right? Now please stop being an ignorant bigot and just realize your sides losing.

    • Tina February 10, 2014 at 12:48 PM - Reply

      All very valid points… Thank you.

  5. Skitch August 16, 2013 at 10:52 PM - Reply

    total bs…ascribing human qualities to non human creatures.That`s called anthropomorphism. Men in Europe used to walk arm in arm down the street.They weren`t gay. Women kissed each other on the lips. They weren`t gay. This article reeks of political correctness and gay agenda. We`re humans, you idiots. The animal kingdom is foreign turf. How can you possibly ascribe motivation to a non reasoning animal?
    Animals also engage in infanticide and cannibalism. Should we include those characteristics too? Absolutely asinine article.

    • equalityv January 7, 2014 at 2:31 PM - Reply

      Actually the animal kingdom is not so foriegn. Considering the fact we evolved from animals our instincts are very similar to theres. Also this study prooves that the “its not natural”arguement is wrong and thusly unusable as an arguement against gay rights.

  6. Sean K August 20, 2013 at 1:32 PM - Reply

    Are there any recorded instances of animals actually engaging in the practice of sodomy? While some mammals my practice certain “courtship” rituals, this article does not address the issue of anal penetration. It would seem that Humans are the only species on the planet who engage in this practice.

  7. Hmm August 24, 2013 at 4:28 PM - Reply

    Seems like some are butthurt here.

    We are all homosexual and heterosexual to some degree. Like it or not. They same characteristics of gender differentiation and mixtures can be found in other creatures. Some even have different mating strategies than the M-F needed in humans to give birth.

  8. Jason September 17, 2013 at 5:20 PM - Reply

    There are plenty of instances of anal intercourse observed. Specifically in big horned rams where the one being mounted has been observed to adjust his position to facilitate entry.

    • alpha October 20, 2013 at 11:43 AM - Reply

      Well can you cite one of those numerous instances????????????

  9. Richard November 1, 2013 at 5:44 PM - Reply

    I have seen with my own eyes animals of the same sex practice mating( the big horned rams; those popular in west Africa) and this amazed me, funny enough people saw it as a normal act and left them to their vices. I have read some of the comments above saying and calling for proof of the source of the article, well you can investigate on your own or rather get on youtube to see live videos. However, I also came across, comments stating that animals carry-out cannibalism, and infanticide( and I know that incest also occurs in the animal kingdom) and the fact that humans should not practice these acts. The point of the article is not a “validate” infanticide or incest or in the context of the article homosexuality in humans, but to point out that it is in fact natural, as opposed to the “made-to-become” belief of sexual orientation. One comment pointed-out that we as a Higher class are capable of intellect and shouldn’t be reduced to mere non-humans, but have failed to remember(if they knew before) that animals do not “think(at least not on a human level if they think at all)” before doing anything, they only act on solely instinct and instinct is a VERY natural(yes natural) aspect of all animals. Infanticide, cannibalism, incest, homosexuality and so on have all occurred humans (the higher class) and all the above mentioned should be considered wrong except incest(because that’s how your ancestors came to being; how did the first man and woman give birth and how did their children; siblings, have their own children?) and homosexuality, because these two do not physically harm the individuals involved, except the “sickness” that comes with continues in-breeding. However, homosexuality doesn’t always involve anal-sex like closed mind people would like to think. Animals mentioned above were said to engage in non-sexual activities as well. Lastly, as humans, our instinctive behaviours (Cannibalism, Infanticide, polygamy, incest, homosexuality; because its “openly” rare) have been shaped by mostly religion(which influenced our social behaviour to detest them) among other reasons, regardless, the non-murderous(except incest) “instinctive” characteristics like polygamy and homosexuality, are still practised today. In some cultures, polygamy is wrong, and is some it is ok, having multiple sexual partners is polygamy in a non-defined state(so you know), but yet is not frowned upon in some societies, but is detested in some among others. All of the above are practiced in the animal kingdom, but they are not intelligent to “think” and say “God said this is wrong, meaning we shouldn’t do it” instead to totally surrender to nature’s(including homosexuality) call.

  10. Karl November 20, 2013 at 11:50 PM - Reply

    Well Skitch, you should learn something, Humans are in the Animal Kingdom, if you say were not, well then, Chimpanzees aren’t either, dumbass

  11. Matt January 19, 2014 at 5:00 AM - Reply

    for those looking for citations you can look up homosexual behavior in animals on Wikipedia and at the bottom you will find all the citations. religion and personal feelings aside, factually homosexuality occurs NATURALLY in nature among virtually all animals that have sex, this article is referring to observed “relationships” of a sort, but broader studies observe that all animal species that have sex, have some that engage in same sex acts. the fact that this occurs naturally is De Facto proof that it is in fact natural, and not “unnatural behavior” as it is coined by some. Humans fall into that category as well. But then enters the religion and personal views to bury or cloud the issue, which it undoubtedly will.

  12. Cathi Andrews February 5, 2014 at 10:24 PM - Reply

    Amazing what a stretch. lmbo

  13. Shawn February 6, 2014 at 4:38 PM - Reply

    This is what I call pseudo-science… This is coming from an agnostic who holds zero religious doctrine. Homosexuality is not just ONE thing. It’s a combo of heredity – environment – and nurturing of young… Sadly, child abuse and neglect plays apart in some as well. It this time , it is not politically correct to give these answers though.

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