Bisexual Species: Unorthodox Sex in the Animal Kingdom: Scientific American

This could have gone in my last post, con­sid­er­ing Porter’s life 😉 Thanks to Scott Bragg for the link.

Bisex­u­al Species: Unortho­dox Sex in the Ani­mal King­dom: Sci­en­tif­ic American

… as many as 1,500 species of wild and cap­tive ani­mals that have been observed engag­ing in homo­sex­u­al activ­i­ty. Researchers have seen such same-sex goings-on in both male and female, old and young, and social and soli­tary crea­tures and on branch­es of the evo­lu­tion­ary tree rang­ing from insects to mammals.

Unlike most humans, how­ev­er, indi­vid­ual ani­mals gen­er­al­ly can­not be clas­si­fied as gay or straight: an ani­mal that engages in a same-sex flir­ta­tion or part­ner­ship does not nec­es­sar­i­ly shun het­ero­sex­u­al encoun­ters. Rather many species seem to have ingrained homo­sex­u­al ten­den­cies that are a reg­u­lar part of their soci­ety. That is, there are prob­a­bly no strict­ly gay crit­ters, just bisex­u­al ones. “Ani­mals don’t do sex­u­al iden­ti­ty. They just do sex,” says soci­ol­o­gist Eric Ander­son of the Uni­ver­si­ty of Bath in England.

The Animals Won

Katie is a bit too old to be a Steve Irwin fan, so we were spared most of that craze. Not all of it, of course, since we don’t live in a media black­out and we are exposed to the cur­rent kid cul­ture via oth­er friends’ kids.

Still, I always found the guy more than a few fries short on his Hap­py Meal. And what the hell did those crit­ters do to him? I mean, they’re nasty, yes, but does he need to bran­dish them on tele­vi­sion repeat­ed­ly? What was he teach­ing his view­ers? Bul­ly­ing? Have there been any cas­es of chil­dren being hurt by try­ing to repli­cate his stunts? (I don’t care how many times any­one says “don’t try this!” We all know that some­body, some­where, will.)

And that crocodile/baby thing. Why was­n’t there as much media cov­er­age about that as about Michael Jack­son dan­gling his kid over a bal­cony? Was the man absolute­ly crack­ers? (I’m not talk­ing about Michael Jack­son, as I don’t have any doubts regard­ing his lack of sanity.)

Ger­maine Greer said all of this bet­ter than I have, but she’s the first per­son I’ve ever heard crit­i­cize Irwin in any sig­nif­i­cant way in a major pub­li­ca­tion. Grant­ed, I was­n’t fol­low­ing him close­ly — but did the man have to die for crit­ics to be heard? 

Would he still be alive if he’d been dart­ed with Risperdal on a reg­u­lar basis? Maybe a lit­tle less of a celebri­ty, but san­i­ty is worth some sac­ri­fices. I think he would have been a bet­ter role mod­el had he been less of an extreme risk taker.

I do feel sor­ry for his fam­i­ly, cer­tain­ly. I know from expe­ri­ence that you can nev­er tru­ly be pre­pared for the loss of some­one you love. Still, if I were his wife I would have been on edge all the time fear­ing that I’d get the call telling me that his luck had run out.