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Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity (Stonewall Inn Editions (Paperback)) Paperback – April 10, 2000
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Astounding as it sounds, a number of scientists have actually argued that when a female Bonobo wraps her legs around another female ... while emitting screams of enjoyment, this is actually "greeting" behavior, or "appeasement" behavior ... almost anything, it seems, besides pleasurable sexual behavior.
Throw this book into the middle of a crowd of wildlife biologists and watch them scatter. But Bagemihl doesn't let the scientific community's discomfort deny him the opportunity to show "the love that dare not bark its name" in all its feathery, furry, toothy diversity. The second half of this hefty tome is filled with an exhaustive array of species that exhibit homosexuality, complete with photos and detailed scientific illustrations of the behaviors described. Biological Exuberance is a well-researched, thoroughly scientific, and erudite look at a purposefully neglected frontier of zoology. --Therese Littleton --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
More interesting to me, though, is the speculation on the sexual origins of language and culture in chapter 2 and the devastating examination in chapter 3 of bigotry in the biological sciences in over two hundred years of observations of animal homosexuality. Bagemihl shows, for example, that in science as in society, there's a presumption of heterosexuality. Field researchers have commonly assumed, with no independent verification, that whenever they see a pair of animals engaging in what appears to be sexual behavior they are observing a male-female pair. Conversely, whenever they observe a known same-sex pair engaging in behavior that would be classified as sexual between a male and female, they classify it in some other way. This protocol largely precludes the gathering of data about animal homosexuality even when it's being observed. In some cases, though, it resulted in published studies being repudiated as much as 20 years later when it was discovered that what was presumed to be heterosexual behavior in a population was really entirely homosexual.Read more ›
however, in one section, the author deals with all the many proposed 'causes' of homosexuality in nature, refuting them with examples of individual discrepancies, but then asserting that all are thus totally flawed, and there is no reason. Surely he should have realized that you cannot expect a single universal purpose across even the modest diversity of birds and mammals. I analogize it to expecting a single purpose of forelimbs. We see many applications and variations (hands, flippers, wings) and even total limblessnes, yet we do not assert them to be purposeless because one purpose cannot cover them all. It would have been far more logical to posit that homsexuality, or sexual plasticity, evolved at some point, and nature has since altered it in every species it is incorporated into, so that it's purpose in one species might be opposite that of another, or it might have no current purpose, simply tagging along as a neutral trait that offers neither benefit nor penalty until the species reaches a point where selection acts on it. I also feel that further investigation into homosexuality etc in "lower" organisms which are more instinct-driven would have added some valuable insight into this, and cannot help but wonder at their ommission.
the last section, however, was thoroughly disappointing.Read more ›
In the first part of the text, he systematically builds a case for "updating" our views. He explains why we can no longer continue believing that the very core of animal nature is based on scarcity and reproduction. By compiling the reports written by hundreds of scientists all over the world who have been "into the field to peek under the rocks," Bagemihl demonstrates without question that we must awaken to a new set of theories about wildlife, if we are to remain honest with the facts. A most interesting portion of this work is his uncovering of several reasons why these reports have been misused, overlooked, edited for content, or simply "tucked away" over the course of history. The last section of this part of his book is a dance into "the possible," in which he eloquently proposes some modifications we ought to consider to the traditional evolutionary theory. He has titled the book after these revolutionary ideas, and declares them merely a starting point for a dialogue he hopes he has initiated.
Seemingly unending descriptions of individual animals compose the second part of the book. Bagmihl has created the world's first sourcebook for future reference on the subject. (Try asking any librarian for a book on animal sexuality! This one's the only one you'll find!Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
A grand expose of the diversity throughout animal species. As a gay man, I realize how I'm part of a spectrum of which I need not be ashamed.Published 4 months ago by Jeff
Very good book. Has claims that a proven by numerous evidencePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer
Looks like a wonderful book. More extensive than we thought it would be. Haven't started it yet but look forward to doing so soon.Published 15 months ago by David A. Huddlestonsmith, M.D.
This is, by far, one of the dumbest arguments you can find to justify homosexuality in humans. "Animals do it so we should too!" Seriously? Read morePublished 16 months ago by Patrick
Not a fun read, but there is so much information here. I'm glad I got and read it.
The information is based on scientific studies, peer-reviewed work. Read more
In our human arrogance, from the 50s when I was studying Biology ...haha ...we were taught how exclusive humans were with our logic, creativity, tool use , problem solving, family... Read morePublished on March 14, 2014 by Edwin B. Morel
I liked very much this book... It will help me to learn more about the homosexuality in the animal kingdom. Thanks.Published on January 9, 2014 by Dhoone Menezes de Sousa