12.0 Introduction

Which one of these penguins is male?

There are known to be several gay penguin couples in zoos across the world
Figure 12.1 There are known to be gay penguins couples all over the world.


Both of the penguins are male. In fact, they are a relatively famous couple of zoo penguins; in their desire to become fathers, they actually have attempted to steal eggs from other penguin couples, apparently going so far as to attempt deceit by leaving rocks in the place of the stolen eggs.

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A related story involves the internationally renowned penguin dads, Jumbs and Kermit. If you’re not familiar with their story, check out: http://www.bbc.com/news/uk-england-kent-27405652

Similarly, a same-sex penguin couple at the Central Park Zoo raised the now-famous Tango, star of the children’s book,  And Tango Makes Three.

Clearly, there is something compelling about same-sex penguin couples. Our attraction (or aversion) to these stories is itself interesting, and leads to a lot of biologically relevant questions about sexual attraction.

  Consider the following questions

In this discussion of Sexual Orientation and the Evolution of Homosexuality, we’ll address the following questions:

  1. What is “sexual orientation”?
  2. How widespread are same-sex mating preferences?
  3. What factors contribute to the development of homosexuality?
  4. Is homosexuality innate? Or influenced by environmental variables?
  5. Why is homosexuality an evolutionary “problem?”
  6. How can we understand the evolution of homosexuality?
  7. What is homophobia?
  8. How pervasive is homophobia in human cultures? How can we understand the widespread occurrence of homophobia?


  1. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/newstopics/howaboutthat/3530723/Gay-penguins-steal-eggs-from-straight-couples.html


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The Evolution and Biology of Sex Copyright © 2020 by Sehoya Cotner and Deena Wassenberg is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.