As one of the hosts of DNews for the last two years, Tara Long had been able to cover a number of incredible scientific breakthroughs: Finding water on Mars, birth control for men, and the usefulness of bras, to name but a few. But alas, there's still many mysteries out there, continuing to defy scientific explanation (and let's face it: science would be totally dull if we had all the answers).
A study published in the journal Archives of Sexual Behavior may have made a few steps forward to solving one of mankind's greatest mysteries: how and why did homosexuality evolve? This research posits that same-sex attraction may act as a method of ensuring social bonding amongst groups of humans.
In their study, researchers looked at the relationship between sexual attitudes and progesterone, a naturally occurring hormone in men and women. For women, it plays a crucial role in both menstruation and conception. In men, where it's often referred to as the "source hormone", it gets converted into testosterone and other essential male hormones. People with higher levels of progesterone -- both men and women -- seemed more open to the idea of having a same-sex experience.
Diana Fleischman, the author of the study, points out that sexual behavior isn't solely about reproduction: It's also an effective method of forming and maintaining crucial social bonds. There have been a number of studies confirming that these can give a species a social advantage (great apes, for example, have been shown to engage in homosexual behavior as a way to forge new friendships with other male apes).
What do you think of Fleischman's theories about the evolutionary advantage of homosexuality? Do you think she may be on to something significant regarding the role of gays and lesbians in society, or do you think she's just totally off base here? Do you think homosexuality is an inheritable, genetic condition, something biological that occurs in utero, or a consequence of how one is raised? We would love to hear your thoughts on this matter, so please leave a comment below On a bittersweet note, we're sad to report that this will be Tara Long's last episode hosting DNews. If you want to drop her a line, keep in touch, or see where she ends up, be sure to follow @TaraLongest on Twitter.
Homosexuality may help us bond (via University of Portsmouth)
"Homosexual behavior may have evolved to promote social bonding in humans, according to new research."