Dolphins were once humorously alluded to as "gay sharks" on an episode of "Glee," but a new study suggests that bisexuality and even homosexuality among the marine mammals may be very much a reality.
As Discovery News is reporting, research scientists at the University of Massachusetts studied more than 120 bottlenose dolphins in western Australia, concluding that the males were "found to engage in extensive bisexuality, combined with periods of exclusive homosexuality." Furthermore, male dolphin pairs, and even trios, cooperate to sequester and herd individual females during the mating season.
Still, from the sounds of it, life for a "gay" or "straight" male dolphin isn't all fun and games. Not only do male bottlenose dolphins reportedly break out into gangs to protect their females, but according to one leading researcher on the study, reportedly published in the journal "Proceedings of the Royal Society B," their male-to-male relationships are "very intense."
"I have often thought, as I watched their complicated alliance relationships, that their social lives would be mentally and physically exhausting, and I'm glad I'm not a dolphin," Richard Connor, the study's co-author and a biology professor at UMass Dartmouth, is quoted as saying. He added that male bottlenose dolphins were "capable of serious aggression," but "they don’t squabble constantly."
Of course, same-sex companionship in the animal kingdom is actually quite common. Last fall, the planned separation of Buddy and Pedro, a "gay" penguin couple at the Toronto Zoo, caused a commotion both among zoologists and the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) media, drawing headlines like "Brokeback Iceberg." Another such pair at China's Polarland Zoo was even given a wedding celebration, The Sun reported.
Take a look at some intriguing cases of other "gay" animals below: