Scientists: Being Gay Is Good, if You're a Bird

At least 130 different species of birds "are known to engage in homosexual behavior." Scientists now think this may be because "homosexual behavior" is evolutionarily beneficial. Not to mention totally hot.

For years, bird-type scientists have been obsessed with figuring out why some birds do what biologists call "gay stuff"—from forming long-term monogamous homosexual relationships to having gay bird sex to [engaging in gay human stereotype]. "Why are all these birds so gay?" the scientists would wonder, late at night, finding themselves oddly sweaty, their pulse rates slightly higher. But after "exhaustively combing" the gay-bird erotica files, Australian biologist Geoff MacFarlane has found some patterns of gay bird behavior:

  • "Homosexual behavior amounted to less than 5 percent of all sexual activity in the 93 species [where homosexual behavior was observed in the wild], though in some cases it was much higher." (Sounds like my four years at college!)
  • "Whichever sex did less parenting also typically did more same-sex canoodling—basically because they could"
  • "Female homosexuality hasn't turned up in the handful of birds where each female mates with many males, but MacFarlane's team predicts it may"

But the most important thesis of MacFarlane's is one that flies against most traditional arguments: Being gay is not actually a bad thing, even if you're a bird. In fact, it may carry distinct evolutionary advantages:

In some cases, homosexual alliances may even be adaptive, helping individuals defend territories, advance their social status, or get help with parental care.

And, of course, [gay human stereotype]!

[LiveScience]