Thursday, October 12, 2006

Birds and bees may be gay: museum exhibition

http://today.reuters.co.uk/news/articlenews.aspx?type=scienceNews&storyid=2006-10-12T104542Z_01_L12870614_RTRIDST_0_SCIENCE-ENVIRONMENT-HOMOSEXUALITY-DC.XML&src=rss

The birds and the bees may be gay, according to the world's first museum exhibition about homosexuality among animals.

With documentation of gay or lesbian behavior among giraffes, penguins, parrots, beetles, whales and dozens of other creatures, the Oslo Natural History Museum concludes human homosexuality cannot be viewed as "unnatural."

"We may have opinions on a lot of things, but one thing is clear -- homosexuality is found throughout the animal kingdom, it is not against nature," an exhibit statement said.

Geir Soeli, the project leader of the exhibition entitled "Against Nature," told Reuters: "Homosexuality has been observed for more than 1,500 animal species, and is well documented for 500 of them."

...

One exhibit shows two stuffed female swans on a nest -- birds sometimes raise young in homosexual couples, either after a female has forsaken a male mate or donated an egg to a pair of males.

...

Greek philosopher Aristotle noted apparent homosexual behavior among hyenas 2,300 years ago but evidence of animal homosexuality has often been ignored by researchers, perhaps because of distaste, lack of interest or fear or ridicule.

Bonobos, a type of chimpanzee, are among extremes in having sex with either males or females, apparently as part of social bonding. "Bonobos are bisexuals, all of them," Soeli said.

Still, it is unclear why homosexuality survives since it seems a genetic dead-end.

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