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A question of sexual activity in animals.
Posted: 28 August 2008 07:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 16 ]
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Well, I thought about it because you brought it to my attention - I did not think of it on my own.  smile
I enjoy reading other people’s ideas and considering them - even if momentarily - and trying to understand the reasoning behind them. 

The science behind homosexuality is a subject that is both long debated and hotly contested. I do worry this is a subject that may be too complex for me to discuss in any sort of productive way. But I’ll give it a brief try, and if I get in over my head or don’t make sense, I’ll bow out gracefully.

I understand amphibians changing sex to balance the ratio, but it’s always to INCREASE the breeding population, not regulate it, right?

And there have been komodo dragons in captivity that exhibit DNA verified cases of Parthenogenesis, which I find absolutely fascinating. (Click Here)

Some cases of animals killing their young may seem to be reducing the population, but may in fact be for the benefit of the mother, the next litter, or the surviving young - for various reasons. So this is an interesting idea.

What examples can we find in the animal world that point to purposeful decrease, instead of increase, in population, for the greater good of the species? Are there examples of “animal birth control” through timing, etc.?

There are many examples in the animal world of “sperm competition” by way of males having spermicidal bodily fluids, and I believe dragonflies have a “scoop” that removes the previous guest’s deposit. But again, these are for the purpose of fostering reproduction of a certain family line, not hindering it for the species. But the fact that these systems evolved at all is absolutely amazing.

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Posted: 28 August 2008 08:43 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 17 ]
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Yeah Jules,it’s over my head too.Again my topic is not solely concerned with homosexuality.I don’t want to start a huge debate here on that subject.
  Vyazma.

edit:the crux of what I’m after is in box no.11. especially the last lines.
edit 2:chocotacos insight in box no.1 second paragraph.

[ Edited: 28 August 2008 08:49 PM by VYAZMA ]
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Posted: 29 August 2008 10:02 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 18 ]
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dragonflies have a “scoop” that removes the previous guest’s deposit. But again, these are for the purpose of fostering reproduction of a certain family line, not hindering it for the species. But the fact that these systems evolved at all is absolutely amazing.

  What’s the matter, Jules.  Can’t you imagine the “intelligent designer” coming up with that little gimmick?  LOL

Occam

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Posted: 29 August 2008 11:37 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 19 ]
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Occam, you’re so funny! Yes, I’m sure the “great designer” took a magic wand and said “Abracadabra! One scoop-shaped dragonfly pecker, coming up!”

I’m surprised human males have not evolved scoop-shaped peckers, too.  LOL

Even some animals thought to be monogamous have surprised researchers:

“Swans have long been renowned as symbols of lifelong fidelity and devotion, but our recent work has shown that infidelity is rife among black swans,” said Dr Mulder.

DNA paternity analysis has revealed that about one in six cygnets are ‘illegitimate’, resulting from covert matings between a female swan and a male other than her own partner.”

http://voice.unimelb.edu.au/view.php?articleID=4546

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Posted: 01 April 2011 01:56 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 20 ]
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traveler - 28 August 2008 10:50 AM

Not against each other, but they are VERY hostile to outsiders. They ambush and kill. Then they go back to the sex.

I know this is belated, I ran across this during a search, but could not allow an important difference between the common Chimpanzee and the Bonobo in societal cooperation and conflict resolution to go unnoticed.

I am sorry traveler, but your statement that implied Bonobos are also violent is not correct. The common Chimpanzees are indeed very hostile , even towards each other. Very human like.
The Bonobos, on the other hand never engage in combat. On the cotrary , they may welcome a stranger in their midst and groom and have sex.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/learning-bonobos.html

[ Edited: 01 April 2011 02:03 AM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 01 April 2011 03:54 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 21 ]
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Regarding the initial post:  There is an interesting theory that the somewhat unusual sexuality of humans, (having sex without productive intent), is a behavior developed to cement family ties over the extended period of human infancy.  Pleasurable sex was a way to keep Dad bringing back the meat, (i.e supplying the mother and infant with food).  The theory posits that because the human brain and skull would be too large to pass through the birth canal if we were born with a brain as fully developed as most species, we are born in a very undeveloped state requiring not days, but years for the brain to develop to a point where the offspring can function independently.  That means that Mom is committed to caring for and feeding the infant and needs the active assistance of the male.  Dad is a lot more interested in hanging around and helping out if there’s something in it for him. 

It’s an interesting idea, and I guess with a little imagination you can use it to explain much of male behavior.

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Posted: 01 April 2011 01:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 22 ]
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Jeciron - 01 April 2011 03:54 AM

Regarding the initial post:  There is an interesting theory that the somewhat unusual sexuality of humans, (having sex without productive intent), is a behavior developed to cement family ties over the extended period of human infancy.  Pleasurable sex was a way to keep Dad bringing back the meat, (i.e supplying the mother and infant with food).  The theory posits that because the human brain and skull would be too large to pass through the birth canal if we were born with a brain as fully developed as most species, we are born in a very undeveloped state requiring not days, but years for the brain to develop to a point where the offspring can function independently.  That means that Mom is committed to caring for and feeding the infant and needs the active assistance of the male.  Dad is a lot more interested in hanging around and helping out if there’s something in it for him. 

It’s an interesting idea, and I guess with a little imagination you can use it to explain much of male behavior.

I don’t know. A lot of cultures did not evolve the one man taking care of their own, specific, mom and baby scenario. Many had a more collective approach to child rearing. In general, women aren’t so incapacitated for so long that we can’t a)store some food or b) go get some food or c)get help from other women/men.

Also, throughout the animal kingdom there are examples of dad’s that have just as much, and in some cases more, investment in the rearing of the next generation.
I think we’ve been led to view parenting as more inherently female through a culture that views monogamy as superior for religious/economic reasons. There are lots of different and valid ways to raise children.

C

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Posted: 01 April 2011 04:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 23 ]
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VYAZMA - 28 August 2008 06:56 PM
Jackson - 28 August 2008 06:39 PM
VYAZMA - 27 August 2008 09:40 PM

Can anyone tell me, if animals other than humans ,have sex soley for pleasure?

We refer you to Olivia Judson who does a blog column for the NYT, author of

[url=http://www.readforpleasure.com/2007/07/olivia-judson-dr-tatianas-sex-advice-to.html][ Dr. Tatiana’s Sex Advice to All

A quick glance at your link revealed a ribald site festooned with all manner of sexual topics.Seemed like a quasi Dr.Ruth Westheimer site.

no she’s a biologist who wrote a blog on evolution/biology/science with footnotes etc.  She would have the examples you were after.

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Posted: 01 April 2011 07:03 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 24 ]
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PLaClair - 28 August 2008 07:44 AM

As I recall, a primate species called bonobo has sex quite frequently, apparently just for pleasure. Many people believe this contributes to the relative absence of conflict among this species.

Sounds good to me.
I’ve always thought part of the suicide bomber dudes and all that other Muslim craziness is influenced by how god awfully sexually restricted those poor Muslim girls and boys are.  Something sad about a culture where 30 year old virgins are common place.

sorry for going OT again, but we are animals built for pleasurable sex…

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Posted: 01 April 2011 09:46 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 25 ]
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On Occam’s point, it is a perennial problem in animal behavior to figure out how to describe things without projecting a human perspective. While some behavioral biologists shun words like “pleasure,” “fear,” “anger,” and so on, doing so handicaps one’s language significantly. And when dealing with the great apes, the resemblence in the anatomical and physiological systems tat underlie such “human” feelings, and the natural history that led to their development in us, are so similar, it is difficult to argue that the terms shouldn’t apply just because we can’t get a verbal report from the subjects on how they feel. So most scientists in the area compromise, using terms like “pleasure” pretty freely since they seem to apply to very basic responses pretty easily understood in terms of brain structure and chemistry. Words like “guilt” are usually shunned as representing more complex constructs tat are harder to ground clearly in brain chemistry and anatomy. But there are lots of gray areas and lots of debate about this, or there was when I was in the field some 15 years ago.

Sex is, as others have pointed out, a pretty basic and evolutionarily fundamental activity, so it seems pretty safe to assume that it feels good to do it regardless of the species. I’m not sure I see a reason to think the drives that underlie our sexual behavior, proximate and ultimate, are likely to be meaningfully different from those of other animals. Just as the neocortex is a late addition layered on top of the older regions of the brain, so are all our cultural notions around sexuality simply layered on top of a very old set of drives and responses.

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Posted: 02 April 2011 07:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 26 ]
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Write4U - 01 April 2011 01:56 AM
traveler - 28 August 2008 10:50 AM

Not against each other, but they are VERY hostile to outsiders. They ambush and kill. Then they go back to the sex.

I know this is belated, I ran across this during a search, but could not allow an important difference between the common Chimpanzee and the Bonobo in societal cooperation and conflict resolution to go unnoticed.

I am sorry traveler, but your statement that implied Bonobos are also violent is not correct. The common Chimpanzees are indeed very hostile , even towards each other. Very human like.
The Bonobos, on the other hand never engage in combat. On the cotrary , they may welcome a stranger in their midst and groom and have sex.
http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/nova/evolution/learning-bonobos.html

Don’t be sorry grin I have no problem with being wrong. But… Compared to common Chimps, sure the Bonobos are flower children from the 60’s. But that doesn’t mean they have no angry streak. I was referring to males against outsider males.

LINK

But from wiki, it seems you are correct: Observations in the wild indicate that the males among the related Common Chimpanzee communities are extraordinarily hostile to males from outside the community. Parties of males ‘patrol’ for the unfortunate neighbouring males who might be traveling alone, and attack those single males, often killing them. This does not appear to be the behavior of the Bonobo males or females in their own communities,...

So it looks like there’s debate. I’m no expert but for the time being I’m going to believe you. I like to think peaceful thoughts.  smile

[ Edited: 02 April 2011 03:49 PM by traveler ]
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Posted: 02 April 2011 02:34 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 27 ]
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“Bonobo Handshake: A Memoir of Love and Adventure in the Congo” by Vanessa Woods is a book, I’ve only heard the author interviewed, and it sounds interesting.  Bonobo’s have a way of handshaking… a different way not using hands… well check it out.  I wonder if the researchers made new friends?

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Posted: 02 April 2011 04:14 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 28 ]
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author=“traveler” date=“1301769213Don’t be sorry grin I have no problem with being wrong. But… Compared to common Chimps, sure the Bonobos are flower children from the 60’s. But that doesn’t mean they have no angry streak. I was referring to males against outsider males.

LINK

And from wiki: Observations in the wild indicate that the males among the related Common Chimpanzee communities are extraordinarily hostile to males from outside the community. Parties of males ‘patrol’ for the unfortunate neighbouring males who might be traveling alone, and attack those single males, often killing them. This does not appear to be the behavior of the Bonobo males or females in their own communities,...

The statement is somewhat ambiguous as it mixes the behavior of “common chimp” and Bonobos. I believe the last sentence concludes that no one has ever observed true malicious behavior in a Bonobo community.

Apparently Bonobos can get annoyed and may swat at a pesky young one or yell, but true anger, revenge, and waging war against their own kind (as in the common Chimp) has never been observed in Bonobos.

Apparently, intense emotion is processed by the brain directly as a sexual stimulant and they rather “make love than war”.

As to hunting and eating meat is another story. Bonobos may kill and eat other “monkeys” as well as birds, rodents, or perhaps defend against a hostile intruder. But IMO, that is not aggressive behavior per se. Moreover, it has been observed that sometimes several troops of monkeys or other Bonobo families may join a larger Bonobo group in close proximity, browsing for food when it is plentiful. 

On the whole it appears that Bonobos are the only true “peaceful” hominid on earth. As the resercher said, Bonobos can go to sleep and wake up in the morning without fear of a “rival” attacking them.

It is the very reason why she is studying the Bonobo. To find out why and how such a society functions and what we can learn from it.

[ Edited: 02 April 2011 06:32 PM by Write4U ]
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Posted: 02 April 2011 06:19 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 29 ]
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Dawkins said that animals have a drive for sex.  They do not have a drive for reproduction.  While this is not the same as saying that animals have sex for pleasure, it does move the perspective closer in that direction.

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Posted: 03 April 2011 06:31 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 30 ]
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Write4U - 02 April 2011 04:14 PM

author=“traveler” date=“1301769213Don’t be sorry grin I have no problem with being wrong. But… Compared to common Chimps, sure the Bonobos are flower children from the 60’s. But that doesn’t mean they have no angry streak. I was referring to males against outsider males.

LINK

And from wiki: Observations in the wild indicate that the males among the related Common Chimpanzee communities are extraordinarily hostile to males from outside the community. Parties of males ‘patrol’ for the unfortunate neighbouring males who might be traveling alone, and attack those single males, often killing them. This does not appear to be the behavior of the Bonobo males or females in their own communities,...

The statement is somewhat ambiguous as it mixes the behavior of “common chimp” and Bonobos. I believe the last sentence concludes that no one has ever observed true malicious behavior in a Bonobo community.

Apparently Bonobos can get annoyed and may swat at a pesky young one or yell, but true anger, revenge, and waging war against their own kind (as in the common Chimp) has never been observed in Bonobos.

Apparently, intense emotion is processed by the brain directly as a sexual stimulant and they rather “make love than war”.

As to hunting and eating meat is another story. Bonobos may kill and eat other “monkeys” as well as birds, rodents, or perhaps defend against a hostile intruder. But IMO, that is not aggressive behavior per se. Moreover, it has been observed that sometimes several troops of monkeys or other Bonobo families may join a larger Bonobo group in close proximity, browsing for food when it is plentiful. 

On the whole it appears that Bonobos are the only true “peaceful” hominid on earth. As the resercher said, Bonobos can go to sleep and wake up in the morning without fear of a “rival” attacking them.

It is the very reason why she is studying the Bonobo. To find out why and how such a society functions and what we can learn from it.

I agree. You must have responded while I was editing that post. Gotta love the Bonobo wink

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