OSLO - The birds and the bees may be gay, according to the
world's first museum exhibition about homosexuality among animals.
With documentation of gay or lesbian behavior among giraffes, penguins,
parrots, beetles, whales and dozens of other creatures, the Oslo Natural
History Museum concludes human homosexuality cannot be viewed as
``We may have opinions on a lot of things, but one thing is clear --
homosexuality is found throughout the animal kingdom, it is not against
nature,'' an exhibit statement said.
Geir Soeli, the project leader of the exhibition entitled ''Against
Nature,'' told Reuters: ``Homosexuality has been observed for more than
1,500 animal species, and is well documented for 500 of them.''
The museum said the exhibition, opening on Thursday despite condemnation
from some Christians, was the first in the world on the subject. Soeli
said a Dutch zoo had once organised tours to view homosexual couples among
``The sexual urge is strong in all animals. ... It's a part of life, it's
fun to have sex,'' Soeli said of the reasons for homosexuality or
bisexuality among animals.
One exhibit shows two stuffed female swans on a nest -- birds sometimes
raise young in homosexual couples, either after a female has forsaken a
male mate or donated an egg to a pair of males.
One photograph shows two giant erect penises flailing above the water as
two male right whales rub together. Another shows a male giraffe mounting
another for sex, another describes homosexuality among beetles.
BURN IN HELL
One radical Christian said organizers of the exhibition -- partly funded
by the Norwegian government -- should ``burn in hell,'' Soeli said. Laws
describing homosexuality as a ``crime against nature'' are still on the
statutes in some countries.
Greek philosopher Aristotle noted apparent homosexual behavior among
hyenas 2,300 years ago but evidence of animal homosexuality has often been
ignored by researchers, perhaps because of distaste, lack of interest or
fear or ridicule.
Bonobos, a type of chimpanzee, are among extremes in having sex with
either males or females, apparently as part of social bonding. ``Bonobos
are bisexuals, all of them,'' Soeli said.
Still, it is unclear why homosexuality survives since it seems a genetic
Among theories, males can sometimes win greater acceptance in a pack by
having homosexual contact. That in turn can help their chances of later
mating with females, he said.
And a study of homosexual men in Italy suggested that their mothers and
sisters had more offspring. ``The same genes that give homosexuality in
men could give higher fertility among women,'' he said.