Same-Sex Behavior Found in Nearly All Animals
posted: 16 June 2009 12:02 pm ET
Examples of same-sex behavior can be found in almost all species in the animal kingdom — from worms to frogs to birds — making the practice nearly universal among animals, according to a new review of research on the topic.
“It’s clear that same-sex sexual behavior extends far beyond the well-known examples that dominate both the scientific and popular literature: for example, bonobos, dolphins, penguins and fruit flies,” said Nathan Bailey, a postdoctoral researcher at the University of California, Riverside.
Same-sex behaviors in different species are not all equivalent, the review finds. For instance, male fruit flies sometimes court other male flies, but this behavior is due to a missing gene that gives the flies the ability to distinguish between sexes, said Bailey, a co-author of the review. “That is very different from male bottlenose dolphins, who engage in same-sex interactions to facilitate group bonding, or female Laysan Albatross that can remain pair-bonded for life,” he added.
The review also found a gap in the literature: While many studies have tried to understand why same-sex coupling exists and why it might make sense in terms of evolution, few have looked at what the evolutionary consequences of this behavior might be.
“Like any other behavior that doesn’t lead directly to reproduction — such as aggression or altruism — same-sex behavior can have evolutionary consequences that are just now beginning to be considered,” Bailey said. “For example, male-male copulations in locusts can be costly for the mounted male” and this cost may put evolutionary pressure on the locusts, he said. As a result, a larger number of males may secrete a particular chemical that discourages the mounting behavior, he added.
In their future research, Bailey and Marlene Zuk, a biology professor at UCR, plan to try and address questions about the evolutionary outcomes of same-sex couplings, focusing on the Laysan Albatrosses.
The review article was published in the June 16 issue of the journal Trends in Ecology and Evolution, and the study was funded by the UCR Academia Senate.
Lady Gaga’s Grand MTV VMAs Entrance
Posted Sun Sep 12, 2010 6:46pm PDT by Joseph Brannigan Lynch
Gaga Wows VMAs Red Carpet
Leave it to Lady Gaga to make sure the 2010 MTV VMA Awards got off to a fashion-forward start-the new Queen of Pop brought a new look to the red carpet and, of course, a touch of political controversy.
The inimitable Lady Gaga arrived in a dress by the late Alexander McQueen: the flowing regal gown wrapped her body in royal shades of gold, dark reds and deep greens. The whole look brought to mind a medieval monarch — only most ancient queens didn’t wear metallic golden feathers on their heads that looked like a Mohawk crossed with a Trojan helmet of war.
Naturally, like any royalty worth her weight in gold, Gaga arrived with military protectors. In Gaga’s case, her Ladyship was flanked by servicemen and servicewomen who had been discharged from the military for refusing to go along with the US’ controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy. Gaga even directly dissed the policy in her red carpet interview and vocalized her support for SDN.org, a 17-year-old organization formed in reaction to DADT policies.
All in all, Gaga’s unforgettable entrance brought to mind her “Alejandro” video by combining commentary about gays in the military with religious iconography. The religious element to Gaga’s dress was less noticeable but still present-there appeared to be the face of a saint sewn onto the décolletage of her dress, bringing to mind Renaissance-era religious paintings.