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Gay Lions? Not Quite

Gay Lions? Not Quite
By Stephanie Pappas, Live Science Contributor | November 10, 2017 05:33pm ET
Copyright © 2017 All Rights Reserved
Source; excerpts follow:

Quote

A photograph of two male lions seemingly in an amorous embrace has some humans clutching their pearls.

After the release of the photograph, taken in August at Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve, Ezekiel Mutua, the chief executive of the Kenya Film Classification Board, blamed humans (or maybe demons) for the male-on-male mounting…

The actual story behind the photograph shows that Mutua got some things wrong. The mounting behavior isn't actually sexual. And the official jumped the gun on attributing human motivations to animal behavior, experts said.

"It's rare, it's not really sexual and it tells us a lot more about those officials in Kenya and their homophobia than anything else," Craig Packer, the director of the Lion Research Center at the University of Minnesota, told Live Science. "It's a bizarre overreaction."…

Heh heh heh… "Packer"…

Quote

… Instead, the photograph captures a rare moment of social bonding between male lions. These lions spend their lives trying to reproduce. To up their odds, they work together in small groups of two, three or more males, called coalitions…

Coalition males are typically affectionate with each other, Packer said. They'll flop down on each other, lick each other and rub each other's faces. On rare occasions, they'll display the mounting behavior that Goldstein witnessed. It seems to be a way to smooth over social tensions. The same sort of behavior occurs in baboons and many other social mammals, Packer said. Female lions do it too, he added.

"It's a social interaction that has nothing to do with sexual pleasure," he said.

Read full article; drill down for hyperlinked references.

I wasn't going to post about this for a couple of reasons: One, the only remarkable aspect of the behavior is that it was captured on film; and Two, the downright embarrassing (and very public) reaction of Mutua. (And why is the "chief executive of the Kenya Film Classification Board" trying to explain biology anyway?)

Of the various articles I've seen regarding this picture and event, this was the most clever title:

He's My Mane Man

:coolshades:
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