Patterico's Pontifications

7/13/2008

Does Homosexual Behavior Occur Among Animals in the Wild?

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 1:43 pm



An article says yes:

[R]esearchers are finding that same-sex couplings are surprisingly widespread in the animal kingdom. Roy and Silo [homosexual penguins at the Central Park Zoo] belong to one of as many as 1,500 species of wild and captive animals that have been observed engaging in homosexual activity. Researchers have seen such same-sex goings-on in both male and female, old and young, and social and solitary creatures and on branches of the evolutionary tree ranging from insects to mammals.

The article does say that “homosexuality among some species, including penguins, appears to be far more common in captivity than in the wild.” I’ve never been convinced by studies that look at the behavior of animals in zoos, any more than I would accept a study of sexual behavior in jails as representative of humans as a whole.

But behavior of animals in the wild seems much more relevant, and the article has examples of that as well.

(Via Hot Air headlines.)

85 Responses to “Does Homosexual Behavior Occur Among Animals in the Wild?”

  1. Scientific American has become a nothing more than a purveyor of liberal dogma. There is a constant barrage of global warming articles, anti death penalty tirades and now the naturalness of gay unions. My subscription will expire in December (a two year gift) and it can’t come too soon.

    Non-professional scientific journals should stay away from liberal stridency. It hurts their crediblity.

    Corky Boyd (25d228)

  2. Corky Boyd: that seems to me to come close to asserting that if scientific research finds results which are at odds with your politics, then clearly the research is wrong.

    aphrael (12fba5)

  3. “[R]esearchers are finding that same-sex couplings are surprisingly widespread in the animal kingdom. Roy and Silo [homosexual penguins at the Central Park Zoo] belong to one of as many as 1,500 species of wild and captive animals…”

    Someone failed biology.

    Taltos (4dc0e8)

  4. Let’s not look to animals for how to do things. Most of them are cannibals. That doesn’t make it right.

    Kevin (834f0d)

  5. As someone at HotAir so succinctly put it, animals eat their own poop too. But seriously, the whole premise is faulty. Animals act from instinct. Humans have free will and can choose what to do, and any simple “what I feel like doin’ right now” doesn’t, how shall I put this, fully encapsulate the highest and best exercise of our humanity. That applies to ALL our desires, including the regulation of our (homo- and hetero-) sexual ones.

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  6. Isn’t rape/nonconsensual sex common among animals (not the human kind)?

    I’m just saying…

    Timothy Watson (e07040)

  7. I should add to be clear: I believe that some of our desires are disordered and should not be followed at all. I know people disagree on which desires are disordered, but I think most people, except the most depraved (a very tiny minority) believe that our desires (sexual or no) need regulating in order for us to live up to our full humanity. We are more than the lower animals and should act like it.

    no one you know (1ebbb1)

  8. I’m not sure why I’m supposed to care about this. It’s not like I’m going to shell out any big bucks to watch any hot penguin chick on penguin chick action on cable or anything.

    daleyrocks (d9ec17)

  9. That is where it belongs. In the wild, with the animals. And is it not a wonder that homosexuality occurs more among caged animals (humans). This throws more light on the psychology of homosexuals. They are caged animals with caged sexual instincts which they dont know how to express. I believe men become homosexuals because they have sexual stuff in them but lack the courage and sometimes opportunity to express it. So they go to a fellow man. Others take to masturbation. Anything to deal with the pressure. Soon that substitute becomes the addiction and way of life. It’s a caged life.

    love2008 (0c8c2c)

  10. How about hyena on hyena action? Hyenas were long thought to be hermaphroditic because the females have penises and copulate with each other. Mules copulate though they are sterile, and I have seen a manic dog at a neighborhood party jump on other male dogs.

    For the relief of unbearable urges?

    nk (8eafa0)

  11. love2008,

    Are truly as moronic as you seem?

    nk (8eafa0)

  12. #11
    Unless of course you nk, are a faggot. Oh, I am sorry. Did I hurt your feelings?

    love2008 (0c8c2c)

  13. #11 & #12 – Hey you two, it’s not like this is the LA Times blog, where this sort of nasty ad-homonym attacks are encouraged.

    Yes, I misspelled it on purpose.

    Apogee (366e8b)

  14. “…that seems to me to come close to asserting that if scientific research finds results which are at odds with your politics, then clearly the research is wrong.”

    Alfie, Scientific American has been widely ridiculed in the very community it purports to be covering, it has long passed into irrelevance from what once used to be a fine publication:

    http://www.americanthinker.com/2007/11/global_warming_as_pathological.html

    http://sandwalk.blogspot.com/2007/02/junk-dna-scientific-american-gets-it.html

    You can find so many Fiskings of their articles over the past few years that it’s safe to say that no one with any credibility sources them anymore. They’ve literally faded into insignificance, and rightly so.

    They’ve become nothing but a dogmatic mouthpiece for their own pet causes, regardless of whether one thinks that global warming is a de facto event.

    Dmac (416471)

  15. love2008:

    I don’t tolerate use of that word on this site. Don’t use it again.

    Patterico (e80fb6)

  16. Sadly, Scientific American has dropped greatly in quality in recent years with its political bent overshadowing the science content but this article does not have any real earthshattering news in it.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  17. Oh, I am sorry. Did I hurt your feelings?

    Almost as much as a duck quacking in the village pond.

    nk (8eafa0)

  18. #15
    What about use of such words like “moronic”? (comment #11). Is that admissible here or is it only for a certain class of posters? Check my history on this blog, I have done my best to conduct myself in such an honourable, respectful manner towards other bloggers. Even when sometimes I disagree with them. I accept the censor but I am also waiting on you to extend the same to the commenter on #11. I have confidence in your judgment Patterico.

    love2008 (0c8c2c)

  19. love2008,

    I’d rather not see people call each other moronic either, but sometimes people are driven to such words, me included. I’d ask people to try to refrain from it; do as I say and not as I do, etc.

    The word you used just isn’t allowed, ever. That’s different.

    Patterico (07c204)

  20. #19
    Then I apologise. To you, that is.

    love2008 (1b037c)

  21. Off-topic, but since Pat and Love are arguing about it:

    At a restaurant in Edinburgh, one of the specials was ‘pork faggots’ for four pound 90. I was too embarrassed to ask what the heck that was.

    Kevin (834f0d)

  22. #21
    Pork faggots?! LOL. Now thats the funniest thing I have heard all week. LOL.

    love2008 (1b037c)

  23. love2008 has an Iago smell to him.

    For example in another thread he said this:

    This is commonly achieved through targeted recruitment programs aimed at applicants from socio-politically disadvantaged groups. In some cases affirmative action involves giving preferential treatment to these groups
    Consequently some african american men became lazy and irresponsible. Always using their color as leverage, they appeal to your white guiltyness to get their way in life and if they dont get it, they cry “racism”. With time fathers became failures leading to a breakdown in the family. There Nk, thats your answer.

    Then later he said this:

    Why cant black people be called negros? What is racist about that? Negro basically means “black”. The over sensitivity is becoming silly.

    In this thread he said:

    And is it not a wonder that homosexuality occurs more among caged animals (humans). This throws more light on the psychology of homosexuals. They are caged animals with caged sexual instincts which they dont know how to express. I believe men become homosexuals because they have sexual stuff in them but lack the courage and sometimes opportunity to express it. So they go to a fellow man. Others take to masturbation. Anything to deal with the pressure. Soon that substitute becomes the addiction and way of life. It’s a caged life.

    Which led to him saying this.

    I think all he’s trying to do is maliciously stir up trouble in an insidious, oily way.

    nk (8eafa0)

  24. Lets assume that Scientific American is correct. Does it have any meaning as a matter of public policy? I think not. So why does that become the focus of the discussion.

    The article is interesting in that it illuminates albeit weakly, that animal behaviors are more complex than previously believed.

    Not a Yank (213310)

  25. #23
    I think all he’s trying to do is maliciously stir up trouble in an insidious, oily way.
    Is it ok if I say you are a little paranoid?

    love2008 (1b037c)

  26. It isn’t paranoia when observation of your behavior supplies the factual basis.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  27. #26
    It is paranoia if one picks up sound bytes off of a whole conversation to make a baseless argument. Common sense teaches us that when someone says something you dont understand, instead of resorting to the ususal invectives and name-calling, you simply ask for clarification. That, he has not been very good at.

    love2008 (1b037c)

  28. I wouldn’t say that a human homosexual “has its wires crossed” but I would say that is the case for other animals exhibiting what appears to be homosexual behavior. Animals don’t have “ideas” about sex that foment in their minds until they act on them, they have instincts.

    If I was to investigate incidents of perceived homosexuality in the animal kingdom, I would look for olfactory defects and domination explanations.

    j curtis (c84b9e)

  29. #26
    It is paranoia if one picks up sound bytes off of a whole conversation to make a baseless argument. Common sense teaches us that when someone says something you dont understand, instead of resorting to the ususal invectives and name-calling, you simply ask for clarification. That, he has not been very good at.

    Comment by love2008 — 7/13/2008 @ 5:43 pm

    Because you’re a slimy little worm who will only try to wiggle away and come back from another direction. Like you are doing now.

    nk (8eafa0)

  30. How about when the pet dog humps the neighbor’s leg? Does that prove animals are prone to bestiality? (Or whatever…couldn’t think of a clever word for it.)

    PatriotRider (212885)

  31. Nope, PatriotRider, that’s a dominance display.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  32. #29
    Ok nk. I can see you have little anger issues. I suspect you may be having transfered agression problem. Someone else may have caused you some pains. (Sure aint me.) Take a break from the lap top or whatever you use, take a walk with your dog and come back. You will feel better.

    love2008 (1b037c)

  33. Then so is kicking the dog across the room. Take that ASPCA!

    PatriotRider (212885)

  34. PatriotRider, how did you know what happened the last time a chihuahua did that to me? You must be psychic.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  35. Dmac, i’m not Alfie. Please refrain from confusing me with him. :)

    My point was not to defend Scientific American’s scientific reputation; outside of computers, I’m not really competent to judge the reputation of scientific journals. It was merely to object to Corky Boyd’s rhetoric, which seems to me to be saying that politically distasteful scientific results must per se mean that the results are politically motivated.

    aphrael (12fba5)

  36. Love2008: comment #12 seems to imply that the only reason anyone might disagree with what you said in comment #9 is that the disagreeing person is himself gay.

    If I’m reading your comment incorrectly, then I apologize. But if I am reading it correctly, it strikes me as being incredibly closed-minded and dismissive.

    aphrael (12fba5)

  37. SPOR, I’m not psycic I’m just an ordinary Joe. It’s a natural reaction to an animalisic “display of dominance”. I’d do the same if loverboy2008 humped my leg.

    PatriotRider (212885)

  38. I agree that Scientific American has let politics distort its coverage. Its treatment of Bjørn Lomborg’s “The Skeptical Environmentalist” was especially shameful. I would not take its unverified word at face value.

    Bradley J Fikes (0ea407)

  39. Some people may well take umbrage at the psychobabble frequently spewed by the touchy-feely wanna-worship-obamatard. There is hardly a comparison between Obama’s constant duplicity and McCain’s intransigience on certain policy matters. I disagree with McCain about constantly turning the other cheek for liberals, the open borders, gang of 14, Mccain-Feingold, drilling in AWNR, etc., but Barry Hussein tells people just want they want to hear and then says he was misunderstood and returns to his previous stance seeking the nuance of a buffoon like Kerry.
    I have local Jews and gays telling me I am prejudiced against blacks because I laugh at how Obama has people fooled and reject the false hope and change espoused by that corrupt and always dissembling Chicago bought and paid for jackal Urkel.
    If we are going to emulate animals’ behaviors I would hope that the far left cretins cursing a deceased Tony Snow would themselves dine on dog turds.
    Btw, I took pork fa**ots to mean pork slowly turned on a spit while pierced with shish kabob-like wooden sticks/fa**ots.
    I’ve been on sites that automatically put **** for words like c**ktail. Seems rather lame to me.

    madmax333 (5487e0)

  40. Alphrael
    I have already apologised for using that word on this blog. funny, I have never used that word in real life. Strange how blogging really changes people. But did you read my comment #9 and what do you think about it? I was only trying to share my take on what I feel is one contributing psychology of a homosexual. They are the once I refer to as “caged” sexually. Using the fact that caged animals are more prone to homosexuality than wild and free ones. My point is that in humans, people with low self esteem, who may not know how to open up about their sexuality are susceptible to being gay. I stand to be corrected.-Respectfully.

    love2008 (1b037c)

  41. Res ipsa loquitor.

    nk (8eafa0)

  42. #41
    Dont even bother nk. This is way above your league. By the way, have you gone for that therapeutic walk I prescribed for you? You still need it.

    love2008 (1b037c)

  43. I promised you that I would never treat any comment you make seriously, didn’t I? You have always reminded me of the pale, flabby kid in high school, always with a smirk and always with a sarcastic comment who would get beat up a lot.

    nk (8eafa0)

  44. #43
    I hope you know you are supposed to be taking those drugs hourly for maximum effect. Taking it once a day wont work. It makes you act this way sometimes. You are a very nice person though.

    love2008 (1b037c)

  45. Pale-haired and pale-eyed, too. In clothes his mother picked for him.

    nk (8eafa0)

  46. love2008 #40,

    I haven’t observed that and it’s contrary to everything I’ve read. What is the foundation for your opinion?

    DRJ (ec597e)

  47. Love2008, I wasn’t reacting to the word itself, it was the flippant presumption that anyone who disagreed with you must be describable by the word.

    In my case, of course, I *am* gay, and happily married besides. Which means that I think your comment is nonsense. I’m not caged sexually, nor do I have unusually low self-esteem; and while it’s true that for a long time I was unable to open up sexually, as far as I can tell that was a result of my being gay rather than a cause. After all, when you grow being told that homosexuality is sinful and not something which can be discussed in polite company, homosexuality becomes a difficult thing to admit to. :)

    aphrael (12fba5)

  48. Now you are hallucinating. Thats not a good sign. You need to lie down now and sleep. Go on, shut down. Go to bed before you do something stupid!

    love2008 (1b037c)

  49. Love, you’ve got some serious problems with reasoning, apart from your problems with temper and language.

    Witness:
    “Using the fact that caged animals are more prone to homosexuality than wild and free ones. My point is that in humans, people with low self esteem, who may not know how to open up about their sexuality …”

    That is dis-analogous. “Low self esteem” is not the same as “physically caged.” Nor is it close enough to draw a parallel.

    Even worse is your original post (#9):
    “That is where it belongs. In the wild, with the animals. And is it not a wonder that homosexuality occurs more among caged animals (humans). This throws more light on the psychology of homosexuals.”

    Sentence 2 is not in accordance with the facts as presented by this article (and as acknowledged by the very next sentence)–“in the wild” is not the same as “caged”–and it’s still dis-analogous with what follows.

    If you have to be a hater, you could at least *try* for coherent arguments.

    And I won’t even get in to your silly assumption that homosexuality is some form of compensation for a feeling of heterosexual inadequacy.

    Don’t bother asking for any follow-up. Your kind aren’t worth my time. I just thought I’d show some support for nk.

    Joe M. (0b26ab)

  50. love2008, you’ve embarrassed yourself enough for one day in this thread.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  51. #45
    Now you are hallucinating. Thats not a good sign. You need to lie down now and sleep. Go on, shut down. Go to bed before you do something stupid!

    love2008 (1b037c)

  52. DRJ,

    I could have saved myself a couple minutes if I’d seen your comment before leaving mine. Your patience and good faith do you credit.

    Joe M. (0b26ab)

  53. #46
    DRJ, I know from counselling homosexuals over sometime now, that most gays evolved from first not being able to express themselves sexually. Why do you think inmates in prisons indulge in homosexual acts with co-inmates? Even though some who indulge in this act may not be inherently gay. They get exposed to that kind of life style and in time believe it is who they are. A lot of gays (not all) are gays by circumstances. I know also alot of young men who have no self confidence in approaching people of the oposite sex just because they dont want to be rejected or embarassed. So they choose other ways to express themselves. Some end up with fellow men, feeling they wont be shurned. This is just one way of trying to understand what leads some people into homosexuality. Of course there are other factors.

    love2008 (1b037c)

  54. Love2008,

    Isn’t it just as plausible that gay people might find their sexual orientation difficult to deal with, and that difficulty might cause them to “develop low self esteem” and problems knowing “how to open up about their sexuality”?

    In other words, the cause/effect relationship might be the opposite of what you suggest.

    DRJ (ec597e)

  55. DRJ: #54 describes my experience precisely.

    aphrael (12fba5)

  56. Please stop ganging up on Love2008! He is making an interesting parallel about being physically caged and being personally repressed, and the effects this might have on sexual orientation. Apart from his use of the “f” word, I see nothing wrong in his comments. He has apologized. Let him be.

    mum2cleo (1f2dad)

  57. Chris Crocker to the rescue?

    rhodeymark (6797b5)

  58. #57
    Thanks mum2cleo. I appreciate that. I also apologise for the use of the “f” word. That was inexcusable.
    Alphrael, care to throw more light on your comment number #56?

    love2008 (0c8c2c)

  59. Years ago when i raised pigeons, it was sometimes hard to tell the young males from females. When putting together an attractive pair for mating purposes, I sometimes unintentionally placed together two males or two females. Regardless of the match, both pairs would take part in aggressive mating rituals that, in the end (so to speak), one would adopt male characteristics and the other submissive female characteristics. It made no difference that both were males or both female. The absence of eggs or production of infertile eggs would identify the problem. As soon as I matched the male-dominant female with a real male, or matched the female-submissive male to a female, the “confused” pigeon would soon recover and assume his or her natural role as a dominant male or a submissive female and produce healthy offspring.

    Because I raised hundreds of these birds, I’m confident that other breeders will corroborate my observations.

    Clark Baker (ac6d1b)

  60. This quote struck me “In team sports, homosexuality is “no big deal and it increases cohesion among members of that team,” Anderson claims. “It feels good, and [the athletes] bond.”

    I never observed behavior like this on any of the many sports teams I played on in high school. It certainly would have been a big deal, and I doubt cohesion would have been increased.

    Erik (49e0f4)

  61. animals have exhibited homosexuality right here on my land.

    i used to raise geese. my flock was down to three hardy survivors, two chinese ganders and a pilgrim gander. the chinese are more athletic and much more aggressive (evil birds!) and they would basically treat the pilgrim like a girl goose.

    then one day, a chinese gander was walking down a truck rut toward my barn when the pilgrim got the jump on him from above. for about five minutes, the pilgrim merrily buggered the chinese to a fare thee well while the chinese emitted the most piteous, heart-rending noises i have ever heard from a bird. case closed.

    finally got rid of them to other homes. they would climb up on my porch and shit all over it. now i don’t have to explain this to my guests.

    assistant devil's advocate (ec9b4f)

  62. The described animal behaviors are not “homosexuality”. Unless you want to tell me that human homosexual relationships are just dominance games.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  63. Hey, welcome back, ada.

    nk (8eafa0)

  64. Apparently gay sheep can be a problem for sheep breeders.

    James B. Shearer (fc887e)

  65. mum2cleo,

    love2008 is a good thinker and debater and I hope s/he doesn’t feel like we were ganging up when we tried to discuss this issue. That wasn’t my intent.

    SPQR,

    I agree. I think we humans tend to view animal behavior through a human lens when it may not be helpful.

    DRJ (ec597e)

  66. Does an animal know the difference between a male specie and a female?
    Does it have the ability to exercise choice between each of them?
    Does an animal possess a will? Does it have power of choice?
    Does it know the difference between heterosexual attraction and homosexuality?
    Are some animals created to be “gay” or does it come from the territory?
    What is the difference between animal male dominance and preferential homosexuality?
    Is the term “homosexual” the right word to describe this type of animal behaviour.

    love2008 (1b037c)

  67. Hmmm. This is kind of a weird thread.

    I have a question (in light of some of the comments in the earlier part of the thread): is it common for straight men to question whether or not they are gay?

    Leviticus (6017a4)

  68. Leviticus #68,

    I knew I liked girls when I was five. And for what I liked them when I was eleven.

    nk (8eafa0)

  69. That’s what I mean. Is it common for straight men (i.e. men who are attracted to women and have never been attracted to men) to nevertheless wonder if they’re gay? As a result of religion, upbringing, whatever?

    Leviticus (96a507)

  70. I think it’s common for men and women to think about sex and sometimes that includes thoughts about sexual preferences.

    DRJ (ec597e)

  71. I believe this is the test. Whether sober or drunk. 😉

    I don’t know that religion, upbringing, whatever has anything to do with it. It’s way too basic and strong to be affected by such things. We are not that fragile.

    nk (8eafa0)

  72. #70
    You mean Leviticus, is it normal for a straight man to look at a fellow man and wonder to himself what homosexual men find attractive in a man? And try to search in himself if he too could find it equally attractive. Is that your question?

    love2008 (0c8c2c)

  73. Leviticus – If a straight guy finds himself drawn towards Culture Club and Rick Astley CD’s, I suspect that they might then question their sexuality.

    JD, comfortable in his sexuality (5f0e11)

  74. On the other hand … what’s the definition of tonedeaf? A blind man listening to the Spice Girls.

    nk (8eafa0)

  75. Posh used to be hawt.

    JD, comfortable in his sexuality (5f0e11)

  76. I’m with JD, Rick Astley is definitely a key symptom. But JD, Posh was “hawt” back when I was “hawt” …

    But I know now that love2008 has no insights I’m interested in upon the topic.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  77. Daleyrocks #8
    Yes indeed. I guess some people just have to have some reason to obsess about the sexual behaviour of other people who have nothing whatsoever to do with them. Do animals do that?

    EdWood (9df7cb)

  78. SPQR – Posh is kind of Joan Riversy now. Plus, those bolt-ons that Beckham bought her are up by her shoulders. Odd, that.

    FWIW, Beckham is on Better Half’s list of people that I am not allowed to get mad about if she ever has the chance to hook up with him. She never let me make a list. Again, odd.

    Just JD (5f0e11)

  79. JD, I’m pretty sure that these days there are no Brits on my better half’s list. Including Beckham.

    Not a lot of masculinity left in the British Isles IMO. I think even the hetereosexual Brits are pretending to homosexuality … you know, to blend in.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  80. SPQR – That was hysterical. They have a loooooooooong way to go to catch up to the French.

    Just JD (5f0e11)

  81. All I could picture was Colin Montgomerie and Ian Poulter while reading your comment.

    Just JD (5f0e11)

  82. JD, Hugh Laurie, the guy who plays House, did you see the episode where they have Cuddy dressed up in his imagination in a school girl outfit?

    His pupils don’t even dilate.

    You know what that means … not that there is anything wrong with that.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  83. I’m pretty sure Hugh Laurie has a wife and kids.

    Leviticus (af7d25)

  84. Leviticus, beards.

    SPQR (26be8b)

  85. WTF!! Hey, man, don’t harsh my mellow, SPQR. Greg House, gay? That is not cool!

    Speaking of which, have you every actually seen House’s pupils dilate? He’s the perfecy emotionless robot he tries to be.

    Shows you how good an actor Hugh Laurie really is.

    PS what’s wrong with the Rickroll dude? Sure, he’s got the one hit wonder thing, but I liked the song.

    I dunno. Being a guy, I have to tell you my standards are really, really low when it comes to the mechanics of it. Warm, wet, tight, doesn’t have to be all three, doesn’t have to be very. From a conceptual pov, of course, then the self-identification is straight, insofar as it matters.

    Because it’s actions, not orientation, that really matters, I believe.

    Gregory (f7735e)


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