Same-sex sexual behavior and evolution

Nathan W. Bailey, Marlene Zuk

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

148 Scopus citations

Abstract

Same-sex sexual behavior has been extensively documented in non-human animals. Here we review the contexts in which it has been studied, focusing on case studies that have tested both adaptive and non-adaptive explanations for the persistence of same-sex sexual behavior. Researchers have begun to make headway unraveling possible evolutionary origins of these behaviors and reasons for their maintenance in populations, and we advocate expanding these approaches to examine their role as agents of evolutionary change. Future research employing theoretical, comparative and experimental approaches could provide a greater understanding not only of how selection might have driven the evolution of same-sex sexual behaviors but also ways in which such behaviors act as selective forces that shape social, morphological and behavioral evolution.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)439-446
Number of pages8
JournalTrends in Ecology and Evolution
Volume24
Issue number8
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 2009

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We thank T. Ly, D. McHugh, Ł.K. Michalczyk and K.G. Valente for encouragement and advice during early conversations about same-sex sexual behavior in animals. M.G. Ritchie gave valuable critiques on an early draft. Extensive comments from five reviewers and an editor helped improve the manuscript. This work was funded by an NSF grant to M.Z. and the UC Riverside Academic Senate.

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Same-sex sexual behavior and evolution'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this