Homosexuality in nature seems counterintuitive, but it is observed in a variety of species around the world.
There has yet to be an accepted explanation based on neurological, chemical or behavioral factors to explain why some animals are homosexual and others heterosexual.
Some scientists say it may be due to exposure to testosterone levels in utero, although this remains a hotly debated topic that has yet to be proven.
In a book titled: “Homosexual behavior in animals: an evolutionary perspective”, the author, Dr Volker Sommer, a professor at UCL, writes: “Within a select number of species, homosexual activity is widespread and occurs in levels that approach or even exceed those of heterosexuals. activity.’
Homosexual behavior has been observed in many animals, including: macaques, dwarf chimpanzees, dolphins, orcas, and humans.
Some studies claim that homosexuality may be common, found in up to 95 percent of all animal species.
There are two main schools of thought when it comes to the prevalence of homosexuality in nature.
One theory claims that homosexuality in animals needs no explanation, since animals are homosexual as naturally as they are heterosexual.
It seems irrational for it to survive as a trait, as it hinders the ability to procreate directly, but many speculate that it allows individuals to ensure that their genetic material is passed down from generation to generation indirectly, as they can care for their family members. with offspring.
For example, helping to raise a sister’s offspring.
Similar behavior dedicated to the “greater good” of a large group has been observed in several species.
For example, in family wolf packs only one pair of animals reproduces: the alpha and the beta. The other animals are responsible for protecting, feeding and caring for the litter.
This allows your genetic material to be passed indirectly to the next generation through your sister, brother, mother, etc. or whatever the relationship is.
The same school of thought applies to animals that are past their reproductive years.
For example, female elephants who are now too old to have offspring.
They still play a crucial role in protecting the young, as the matriarch leads the group to places of food, water, and chases from potential predators.
These actions ensure the survival of young and vulnerable members of your family, again helping to ensure that your genetic material is passed indirectly from generation to generation.
A similar concept can be applied to homosexuality, some experts say.
Without the ability to reproduce directly, they can expend energy caring for the offspring of their family members.
Another theory claims that homosexual behaviors aid in the successful long-term transmission of genes, as young animals “practice” mating techniques and ways of attracting a member of the opposite sex.
Rates of homosexuality in different species remain unknown, as ongoing research finds more nuances to homosexuality in the wild.
It continues to be found in more species, but the level of homosexuality in individual species is not studied enough to determine whether homosexuality is becoming more common.