updated 8/9/2012 4:42:39 PM ET
Media reports on animal sex troubling, two biologists say
"Humanizing behavior of wildlife activity can be sensationalizing, they claim
A picture of paired female albatross. While the urge is to call these birds "lesbians," two biologists say that can give the misinformation that human sexuality is a "disease" that can be "cured."
Media reports on animal sex are often sensationalistic, with many humanizing wild animals "in the sack," for instance. The result can lead to a misunderstanding about the nature of human sexuality, two biologists write this week in the journal Nature.
University of London researcher Mark Brown and his colleague Andrew Barron of Macquarie University in Australia surveyed 48 newspaper articles written about animal sexual behavior in recent years and found what Brown called "some fairly egregious headlines."
More troubling, he said, were reports that linked animal sexual behavior to human sexual orientation, giving impressions that human sexuality is a simple matter of genes and hormones, the researchers wrote. In that way, such reports can create the perception that non-heterosexual sexuality is an abnormality or illness."