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Posted By Bakari


At first I was going to comment directly on the article, but couldn't find a place for it.
Then I noticed the article is 3 years old.
Then it occurred to me; that's exactly what my blog is for!  Remember?  Duh.

On to my comments:

This is a fascinating study and long over due research, which deserves far more attention that it's gotten for both social and scientific reasons.
However, I must partially object to the conclusions of this particular article.

It presents a false dichotomy.  None of the observed activities contradict the basic principals of Darwinian evolution, including sexual selection.  They may seem to contradict some assumed extensions of the basic mechanisms of evolution, but those assumptions are the things which must be thrown out, not the entire theory.

Sex serves a social function.  This is true not only in humans, but in a great many other species as well - generally those that are more complex, intelligent, and social.  This much is clear.
This does not mean sex is not also about reproduction.  It is not an either/or question.  To dispute that sex is primarily about reproduction, the survival of one's genes is just plain silly.

But simply maximizing number of offspring does not necessarily lead to the greatest number of survivors a few generations down.  Increasing the quality of a few offspring, and improving the environment they grow up in can be an alternate and potentially more successful strategy for grandchildren.  In a social specie where individuals are dependent on the group, any behavior which increases the cohesivenvess of the group has an adaptive advantage.

(this is only the begining - there is much more, including links to references, and irrelevant asides, not to mention a most gratifing conclusion (or at least the conclusion that gratification is perfectly ok) - unfortunately, my cheap blog editor piggybacking here on my website server space ("cheap" meaning "free") has a charcter limit for some unfathomable and ungodly reason, so in order to read the rest I am afraid I have to send you to my original blog, by having you click the following link: Gay Animals, Social Sex, and a Misunderstanding of Natural and Sexual Selection )