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Dolphins are comparable to both chimpanzees and humans in cognitive and social abilities. Great diversity exists in dolphin societies as well, and numerous same-sex liaisons have been identified.
In one incredible case, a pair of gay dolphins enjoyed a seventeen-year relationship. Researchers also found a whole pod of dolphins—composed entirely of males—whose members were certainly not lacking in romantic experiences.
Many other dolphins have been found to be bisexual, enjoying passionate contact among their own sex as well as the opposite.
Bonobos, which resemble miniature chimpanzees, are not only among the world's most intelligent animals but are in fact humanity's closest relative.
Since many of the conflicts occur between two males or between two females, homosexual bonding is a frequent occurrence among these amorous apes. Sexual encounters may serve to increase social standing among females—but it also occurs among males, who may take a more "play fight" based approach.
Cock of the Rock
Andean "cock of the rock" are spectacular forest songbirds with an extremely dramatic appearance, combining brilliant orange with a huge crest. Natural selection has led to some rather outlandish feather adornments. Remarkably, up to forty percent of males engage in same sex activity.
Unlike the seabirds previously discussed, only the male birds of this species seek homosexual encounters. It is possible that the gay behavior stems from high population densities, and extensive competition for females.
African lions are frequently invoked as symbols of traditional ruler ship; especially in patriarchal societies which involve female harems. A certain percentage of male African lions; however, forsake the available females in order to form their own same-sex group gatherings.
Male lions have been documented mounting other males, and engaging in a variety of behaviors normally reserved for single pairs of opposite-sex couples.
Waterfowl and Penguins
Homosexual behavior has been documented in wild Australian black swans, who sometimes form threesomes involving two males as they establish a nest site. Incredibly, such arrangements involving two males actually led to higher breeding success, due to the effectiveness of the males in defending the nest site from predators.
Additionally, two male penguins made headlines after they paired up in a zoo, and were given an egg which they successfully raised. Prior to being given an egg of their own, the gay penguins attempted to steal eggs from straight penguin couples.
Western gulls resemble the laysan albatross, but they're actually more closely related to puffins. Convergent evolution has given them a resemblance to the huge albatrosses, along with a similar mating system—again sometimes involving two females. The more expressive gull pairs may even engage in mounting behaviors.
Scientific expeditions to California's Channel Islands revealed that no less than fourteen percent of gull pairs were partners in female-female couples. This diversity in the colonies was first noticed when some nests were found to contain surprisingly large numbers of eggs. Some of these eggs were even fertilized, due to "on the side" encounters with male gulls.
Young male giraffes, prior to mating with a female, sometimes engage in same-sex encounters and short term alliances. Activities may include tongue kissing, neck massaging and "hugs," as well as full-body contact and nuzzling. Scientists theorize that the purpose of the same-gender interactions is to develop a familiarity with the mating techniques before using them to court the appropriate female giraffe. In the small-town community which is the giraffe herd, it seems that the idea is to get it right with the girls from the word go—by checking out some of the guys, first.