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In history, homosexuality has long been presented as a punishable, shameful vice. Those who oppose it or have opposed it, especially Christian theologians, had, among other things, an argument which they considered infallible: if homosexuality between animals does not exist, it is indeed proof that humans should not indulge in this unnatural love. An enlightened reasoning, which shines only by its inaccuracy.
In fact, mating between individuals of the same sex is widespread in the animal kingdom. Well, inevitably, when you observe it for the first time on the basis that it cannot exist, it upsets preconceived ideas a bit. In 1834, for example, the entomologist August Kelch had great difficulty explaining the sexual relations of two male beetles – a subfamily of beetle insects – who were enjoying themselves before his amazed eyes.
Eventually, he concluded that this must have been an act of rape, where “the bigger and stronger of the two had imposed itself on the smaller and weaker”. A beautiful pirouette, dismantled a few decades later by scientists without blinkers.
More than 1,500 species
Since the first observations of mating between animals of the same sex, science has evolved on the subject. Today, more than 1,500 different species have been seen to have homosexual activity, 500 of which have been scientifically studied. These relationships are normal, common and vary widely.
Insects, fish or even mammals: homosexuality is indeed present everywhere among animals. To an unsuspected degree. Take the giraffe for example. Tall, long neck, mottled skin, we all know that. On the other hand, what is less known is that 90% of their sexual activity is of a homosexual nature. There are therefore many more activities between these ruminants of the same sex than with one of their congeners of the opposite sex.
A trend that is also found in bison. While female bison mate with male bison only about once a year, the latter take advantage of this throughout the rest of the year to engage in homosexual activity, sometimes several times a day, especially during the winter season. loves. When the bison is not there, the bison dance.
Giraffes and bison are far from the only examples. To a lesser extent, the albatrosses that live in Hawaii are also followers of homosexual relationships and about 30% of pairs are made up of two females on the island of Oahu. Ditto in dolphins, which, males as females, are widely open to homosexuality in their group.
The list is still long, but, if it were only necessary to cite a few of them, we would surely retain the lions, king of the animals, of which approximately 8% of the sexual acts are of a homosexual nature, reports Geo. Or macaques, mainly females, which can form particularly intense bonds with a sexual partner of the same sex. Male penguins, where both heterosexual and homosexual couples carefully raise their young. A behavior that also resembles that of the Australian black swan, whose same-sex parenting is often a success: male couples who recover abandoned eggs have indeed a higher reproductive success than heterosexual couples. Why? Because according to observations, two males defending a single territory deter visitors who are a little too curious.
In reality, the vast majority of animals would be bisexual, rather than homosexual or heterosexual. A free sexual orientation that would have multiple advantages, a sort of optimized sexuality to survive through the ages.
It is in any case a theory that is gaining momentum in the scientific community, reports the Washington Post. Biologist Vincent Savolainen summarizes what he calls “the bisexual advantage” like the idea that this sexuality has increased the chances of reproduction of different species throughout history. According to him, although heterosexuality is essential for all reproduction, if it is absolute, it can be limiting. Conversely, integrating homosexuality would be particularly favorable to social alliances among animals. A crucial aspect with a view to survival in a hostile environment.
Two examples are particularly telling. The bonobos first. This primate with completely unbridled sexuality uses sex to ease tensions within his group. Masturbation and sexual intercourse are their daily bread, without any connection with a particular reproductive will. Among these distant cousins, sex is the solution to all problems. Two males are fighting? Their quarrel will end partly with legs in the air, just to reconcile in good and due form.
In bottlenose dolphins, it’s a bit the same thing. When males want to seal a lifelong friendship, they don’t make grand promises or life-and-death declarations of brotherly love like we humans do. No, they both get laid, together with an infernal rate of more than two sexual relations per hour. A way to strengthen their social alliances.