Gay Marriage in the Animal Kingdom

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PostWed Jul 21, 2010 2:43 am » by Tertiusgaudens


10/25/2006

Homo on the Range
Gay Marriage in the Animal Kingdom

By Christoph Seidler in Oslo

Two male giraffes in unequivocal pose, a lesbian swan couple, two male whales stimulating each other: a new exhibit in Oslo displays examples of animal homosexuality.

An image of two male giraffes getting a bit frisky.
"Normally," says Geir Söli with a smile, "natural history museums just show pretty boring things: rocks, stuffed birds and the like." Not so with the Norwegian zoologist's latest project. After three years of preparation, Söli and his colleagues from the Natural History Museum in Oslo have just inaugurated the world's first exhibit on animal homosexuality.

"Against Nature?" is the name of the exhibition in the red brick building on the edge of Oslo's Botanical Gardens. The question mark at the end of the title is of particular importance to exhibit director Söli. He wants to qualify the argument that homosexuality is against nature because, he says, the facts paint a different picture: homosexual behavior has been observed in at least 1,500 species, and in roughly 500 of these cases the findings have been well documented. "And that's only the tip of the iceberg."

All too often, Söli says, zoologists have simply ignored the homosexuality of their research subjects. Against the backdrop of a 4-meter-tall image of two giraffes in an unmistakable pose, Söli explains how the whole thing usually worked: In a study on giraffes in Africa, for instance, scientists classified the mere sniffing of a female by her male counterpart as "sexual interest." But when one male giraffe mounted another, the scientists recorded this as a "territorial fight" -- even when they observed an ejaculation -- because what must not be, cannot be.

Around 2,300 years ago, Aristotle had already described the remarkable behaviour of a group of hyenas: males flirting with males, females pleasuring females. But the idea of gay marriage in the animal kingdom never really fitted into the scientists' world view, and so was all too often ignored.

Not too far way, in Göteborg's Natural History Museum, an exhibition has been running since the beginning of June entitled "I love U," which presents, in laid back Scandinavian style, the mating and reproduction of all kinds of animals, including people. With a faint hint of Abba, the Swedish exhibitors illustrate "the winner takes it all" with a model of an egg surrounded by sperm. It's all about reproduction here -- up to now the only purpose for sexuality in the animal kingdom -- at least according to the traditional version.

The Oslo exhibit documents how reality has now caught up with the scientists: they observed whales, for example, rubbing up against each other with erect penises; a female dolphin gliding her fin into her partner's genital tract; or two male seagulls building a nest together. Scientists even discovered, to their great surprise, that approximately one out of ten couples in some king penguin colonies were homosexual.

The Joy of Animal Sex

"Biological Exuberance" is the name of a book published seven years ago by the biologist Bruce Bagemihl, which summarizes these types of cases. And "exuberance" is indeed the explanation for these observations, says Bagemihl. His somewhat controversial theory forms the cornerstone of the Oslo exhibition: animals enjoy sex, whatever the constellation may be. Geir Söli contends that this is especially true of more developed species like whales, dolphins, or primates. There is evidence everywhere of homosexual behavior.

Incidentally, the exhibit also shows cases where with a few tricks, homosexual animal couples can even raise offspring. Scientists have recently reported on parenthood among homosexual flamingos, vultures and storks, by means of borrowed eggs and "one-night stands." They have also found evidence of some same-sex relationships that last an animal's lifetime. "You can say what you will about homosexuality, but you can't say that it is contrary to nature," says Geir Söli, thereby answering in passing the question in the exhibit's title.

So far, there haven't been any large-scale protests against the exhibition -- it simply fits in too well with liberal Norway, where the government, by way of special subsidies, encourages the country's museums to get involved in the public debates. And so it should come as no surprise that it is above all families who crowd the dimly lit museum halls on the weekends. The merry sound of hollering children is constantly reverberating throughout the museum. "I am pleased that families continue to come here," Söli says. "We don't have any shocking images here, we don't want to hit anyone over the head."

The scientists from Oslo took a risk with their new exhibition, and they were rewarded for it. The house is full and is enjoying worldwide attention. So it is with good reason that Geir Söli and his colleagues are considering exporting their success at the end of the ten-month exhibition: "We are thinking about turning it into a traveling exhibition."
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PostWed Jul 21, 2010 3:00 am » by maxkira


it is not wath sex you are but the love you give

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PostWed Jul 21, 2010 3:02 am » by Spock


Whew! Man - I'm just glad I don't eat cat turds out of the litter box.

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PostWed Jul 21, 2010 3:02 am » by Spock


Maybe we should all walk down the street naked and shit down the back of our legs too.

Hell - it's only natural.

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PostWed Jul 21, 2010 3:31 am » by Slith


spock wrote:Maybe we should all walk down the street naked and shit down the back of our legs too.

Hell - it's only natural.

Too graphic! Not that it's never happened. Um, well not to me anyways. And if it did, I don't remember it. I do though, remember once waking up in a ditch naked. I lost my wallet, but kept my pride (ya know)
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PostWed Jul 21, 2010 5:02 am » by sockpuppet


Ummm... Animals don't marry.
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PostWed Jul 21, 2010 5:38 am » by Spock


sockpuppet wrote:Ummm... Animals don't marry.



Now don't be gettin' redneck. Marriage is not exclusive to a man and a woman.

Animals form bonds that should be recognized and given the same incentives as married couples.

Regardless of how many asses they sniff.

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PostWed Jul 21, 2010 5:44 am » by sockpuppet


spock wrote:
sockpuppet wrote:Ummm... Animals don't marry.



Now don't be gettin' redneck. Marriage is not exclusive to a man and a woman.

Animals form bonds that should be recognized and given the same incentives as married couples.

Regardless of how many asses they sniff.



Marriage is an invention of the state, created in order to get you to sign over control of your children and your property TO THE STATE and it is endorsed by the church. In many other religious organizations, "marriage" is synonymous with "contract"- the contract by which a man takes control over the life and usually the property of his wife. This is why it is tradition for women to take their husbands' names.

And FYI, up until the 1920's, it was still legal for an Englishman to sell his wife... :twisted:
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PostWed Jul 21, 2010 6:39 am » by Otomon


spock wrote:
sockpuppet wrote:Ummm... Animals don't marry.



Now don't be gettin' redneck. Marriage is not exclusive to a man and a woman.

Animals form bonds that should be recognized and given the same incentives as married couples.

Regardless of how many asses they sniff.


Marriage is bullshit,didn't we teach you kids anything back in the `60s by doing alot of drugs and fighting the man?
I am energized 13 I am CHRISTalized 13 I am amplified 13 I detach from the illusions of matter 13 I no longer choose to play the unconscious role 13 I listen to my intuition 13 I am in my flow 13 I break free from all negative soul ties 13



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