Some birds sing gayly

1
I was introduced to the concept of homosexuality at a young age. Many years ago, my father bought 2 parrots. He was hoping they would mate and lay some eggs. Unfortunately, both parrots turned out to be of the same sex, they did mate but of course they couldn't lay any eggs. My dad got sick of the homosexual birds and sold them.

Now, a study has shown that more than half of 120 male white ibises exposed to high levels of mercury chose to mate with males instead of with females.

Mercury is known to affect sex hormones of many animals.

1 comments:

David said...

Yu-Kym,

Great post that needs some follow up.

Homosexual behavior in animals is often triggered by low numbers of the opposite sex. The parrots your father purchased had no females to ever mate with so their behaviour adapted to their environment, IOW they had no choice but to get chummy with the other male bird.

The Ibises in the study you reference show how mercury pollution affects waterfowl. Likely the mother laying these birds eggs were exposed to mercury from the food chain, equally likely is that the eggs were exposed to mercury contamination.

The result is the messed up Ibises, genetic damage while the chick grew in the egg shows the resulting behaviour resulting from genetic damage caused by the mercury.

More on Mercury pollution from:
http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,1607,7-153-10370_12150_12220-26953--,00.html

Mercury is an extremely toxic element, however only occasional poisoning cases have been reported. It has been used in the past as the active ingredient in ointments, parasiticidals, antiseptics, disinfectants, diuretics and fungicides. Mercury can be a source of environmental contamination when present in seed dressing fungicides, anti-slime fungicides in pulp and paper industries, by-products of burning coal, mine tailings and wastes from chlorine-alkali industries. Whatever the source, mercury finds its way into water sources and accumulates in fish and fish-eating animals. Inorganic mercury which enters a water source is readily converted to methyl mercury by aquatic microorganisms and accumulates in the tissues of fish. In Michigan, the common loon, mink and otter have been poisoned by mercury as a result of ingestion of mercury contaminated fish.

Waterfowl may be exposed to chronic low levels of mercury present as an environmental contaminant. Mercury which is eliminated from the female via egg laying, has been reported to cause abnormal egg laying behavior, impaired reproduction, slowed duckling growth, and altered duckling behavior in mallard ducks. Occasionally seed eating birds are affected by mercury toxicity after feeding on mercury fungicide treated seed.

Although wildlife deaths due to mercury poisoning are rare, there is a possibility that mercury may reduce populations by decreasing reproductive efficiency.


One must remember these birds sexual behaviour is hardwired into the fowls genetic code. Mercury and other environmental toxins have been proven to alter and cause genetic mutations.

This homosexual beviour can in time lead to a reduced bird population since such males will not be mating with female Ibises.

Humans OTOH are basically hardwired for heterosexual behaviours. However the complexity of growing up with numerous external influences can lead to humans choosing to engage in homosexual behaviour.

David

If the whole universe has no meaning, we should never have found
out that it has no meaning: just as, if there were no light in
the universe and therefore no creatures with eyes, we should
never know it was dark. Dark would be without meaning.


-- C. S. Lewis