Same-sex activities are not limited only to humans; many species in the animal kingdom have been known to partake in homosexual behavior.
But, for the first time, a University of Western Australia researcher and associate professor Cyril Grueter has documented this behavior in female mountain gorillas in Volcanoes National Park in Rwanda, something that has been known to exist, but has never really been documented in detail in female gorillas until now.
The findings, which were made possible by Dian Fossey Gorilla Fund International, have been published in the journal PLOS ONE.
Despite being the first recorded case, it wasn’t very uncommon among the number of gorillas that were studied in the area.
According to the report, 22 gorillas were studied in total, and at least 18 of them partook in the homosexual behavior, which included, but was not limited to, rubbing and groping the other.
The behavior is thought to be a natural response by the animals because they were observed completely in the wild and not while in captivity.
"Given that all these observations come from wild groups, not gorillas held in captivity, it is obvious that homosexual activity is part of the gorillas' natural behavioral," Grueter explains. "My impression is that these females derive pleasure from sexual interaction with other females.”
Grueter notes he had observed where a female gorilla would tend to another female gorilla’s needs when a male would not. Moreover, seeing two gorillas (a male and a female) going at at it was also found to spark arousal in two female gorillas who opted to go at it with one another.
These details seem to support the hypothesis that the animals were simply aroused and needed a way to express it. Since the males weren’t exactly interested, the females tended to each other instead.
The study notes that female gorillas seem to be able to shift easily from heterosexual to homosexual behavior, and back again.
Source: TechTimes, University of Western Australia