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Frequent Same-Sex Sexual Behavior Observed in Wild Macaque Monkeys

A study conducted on wild macaque monkeys suggests that same-sex sexual behavior is a common occurrence in the animal kingdom. The research indicates that this behavior may be passed down through genetics and can provide evolutionary advantages.

Strong Male Alliances and Reproductive Success

Male macaque monkeys form bonds and help each other in fights. This behavior allows them to access more females and potentially have more offspring, providing them with a reproductive advantage.

The “Darwinian Paradox of Homosexuality”

Homosexual behavior is often questioned due to the belief that it does not lead to reproduction and therefore should not be beneficial from an evolutionary perspective. However, this study challenges this notion and suggests that same-sex behavior may have hidden advantages.

Studying Macaque Monkeys in Puerto Rico

The study focused on a colony of wild rhesus macaque monkeys on the island of Cayo Santiago. The colony has been monitored for several decades, allowing scientists to observe their behaviors and study their genetics.

Observations and Findings

The researchers observed 236 male macaques over a period of 72 days and found that 72% of them engaged in same-sex mounting while 46% mounted females. Same-sex mounting was sometimes followed by fights against other monkeys before engaging in sexual activity.

In terms of heritability, the study found that same-sex mounting behavior was 6.4% genetic. This suggests that genetics may play a role in this behavior, alongside other factors.

Not Just Dominance Displays

Contrary to the belief that same-sex mounting is a display of dominance, the researchers found that monkeys engaged in this behavior regardless of their rank. They observed erectile responses, penetration, and ejaculation, indicating that this behavior can be considered sexual in nature.

Dispelling Notions of Unnatural Behavior

This study contributes to dispelling the idea that same-sex behavior is unnatural in animals. It highlights the need to move away from outdated notions and understand the potential evolutionary benefits of such behavior.

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