Homosexuality in animals exists because it is useful

Homosexuality in animals exists because it is useful

2023-10-03 18:05:02

The homosexuality in animals non-humans is very common. Both between males and females. Sometimes these are stable homosexual couples, other times simple sexual dalliances. But, what is clear is that, contrary to what some conservative sectors claim, being homosexual is something as natural as life itself. Now, what benefits does homosexuality have?

Heterosexual sex has a clear evolutionary benefit: the perpetuation of the species. That is why it has been maintained in the species as they have evolved. But what about homosexual relationships? This question has been asked by many scientists and now it could finally have an answer, thanks to a study published by Spanish researchers in Nature Communications.

This study consists of two parts. On the one hand, quantifies homosexuality in animals. That is, it reviews the species that show this type of behavior and classifies them. But, on the other hand, also look for an explanation. In fact, they have found two hypotheses: one related to the social ties and another associated with the aggression in adults.

Homosexuality in animals: something very common

In fact, more than on homosexuality in animals in general, this study focuses on the homosexuality in mammals.

Analyzing the scientific literature on this topic, its authors have verified that, of the 4,300 species that make up the class of mammals, this type of behavior has been observed in 261, which means and 4%.

If we go deeper into the classification, we can see that half of the families of mammals have exhibited homosexual behavior and, if we ascend one step, in the order, which encompasses the different families, there are 63% orders which include some species with homosexual practices.

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The aggressiveness hypothesis only occurs in males. Credit: David J. Stang (Wikimedia Commons)

Evolutionary benefits

If homosexuality in animals were something that was a result of chance, without any benefit, when examining the relationship between species it would not be found a common thread. It would not be being selected.

However, when the authors of this research analyzed the different branches of the tree of life, they saw that this thread does exist. Mammalian animals with homosexual behaviors in the highest nodes have given rise to lower branches that have maintained homosexuality. Therefore, That indicates that there is some benefit to it.

Investigating this topic, the authors of the study have made two proposals. On the one hand, it has been seen that the species with more social behaviors They are more prone to homosexual behavior. This would indicate that homosexuality in animals would, in reality, be a form of strengthen ties between individuals. Kind of like in humans, in fact. You cannot talk about love with animals. We do take it to that extreme, but couples between homosexual people are still the result of a social bond, exactly the same as heterosexual ones.

But, on the other hand, these scientists have seen that in the species in which there are more propensity for adulticide, there is also more homosexuality, only between males. That is, males who tend to kill other males are also more likely to have homosexual relations with them. And this, again, would have an explanation, since it would be a way to relax tension. If you please another male, he will probably lose his desire to kill you. It’s a very simplistic way of looking at it, but that’s what it is.

What is clear is that it is not about any perversion or frustration about wanting to have sex, no matter with whom. Homosexuality has a reason, as does heterosexuality. This happens in many mammals and, of course, also in humans.

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