Biological Exuberance cites numerous studies on more than 450 species (see List of animals displaying homosexual behavior) showing that homosexual and bisexual behaviors are common among animals and proposes a theory of sexual behavior in which reproduction is only one of its principal biological functions. Bagemihl proposes that group cohesion and lessening of tensions, seen for example among bonobos, are other important functions of sexual behavior. He also argues that the implications for humans of homosexual behaviour across the animal kingdom are "enormous."
His book on homosexuality in animals was cited by the American Psychiatric Association and other groups in their amici curiae brief to the United States Supreme Court in Lawrence v. Texas, the case which ultimately struck down sodomy laws across the United States. The book formed the basis for the museum exhibition Against Nature?.
He has also published several essays and scientific articles on issues related to language, biology, gender, and sexuality.
In his news book, Biological Exuberance: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity ... author Bruce Bagemihl portrays an animal kingdom that embraces a whole spectrum of sexual orientations ... [and] a complex mosaic that resembles humanity ... 'It's an expanded vision of what the natural world is all about,' [Bagemihl] says. 'We're not alone in having a range of sexual behaviours. This is something that is all-encompassing.' ... At 751 pages and with photos and documentation of homosexual behaviour in more than 450 species of mammals, birds, repties, and insects, Biological Exuberance brings the dusty facts to light as Bagemihl deconstructs the all-heterosexual Noah's Ark we've been sold. ... Although he doesn't claim to know the motivations of animals, Bagemihl says he does know procreation is not always the driving force: 'Same-sex couplings occur in the presence of the opposite sex, and in and out of captivity, and in and out of mating season.'
Although gay himself, Bagemihl says he did not write his landmark book (which he spent nine years researching) simply because of his own sexual identity but rather because 'the implications for humans are enormous.'
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