More animals show same-sex bonding in new study

Asha Bajaj
8 min readJan 25, 2024
Male lions in a zoo in Melbourne, Australia. Photo by Laurence Barnes/Flickr.

#samesex, #sexualbehaviour

IBNS-CMEDIA: A new study adds to a growing list of some 1,500 animal species in which same-sex sexual behaviour is documented. Interest in this research is expanding after a long history of stigma within the field that led some earlier scientists to withhold evidence of same-sex sexual behaviour among animals. Mongabay correspondent Swati Thapa reports

A recent study published in the journal Nature Communications has traced the evolution of same-sex sexual behaviour in mammals, using phylogenetic analysis, a method that traces evolutionary relationships among biological entities. Such behaviour, which is common in mammals, may have evolved in part “to establish, maintain and strengthen social relationships that may increase bonds and alliance between members of the same group,” the authors write.

“Our study has tested for the first time two adaptive hypotheses on the origin and maintenance of same-sex sexual behaviour using a large group of animals, the class Mammalia,” says José Maria Gómez, an evolutionary biologist at the Experimental Station of Arid Zones in Almería, Spain and an author of the study. “In this sense, our study provides strong evidence that this sexual behaviour is functional and plays an important role, at least in this group of animals.”

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Asha Bajaj

I write on national and international Health, Politics, Business, Education, Environment, Biodiversity, Science, First Nations, Humanitarian, gender, women