Sunday, January 07, 2007

Help I Can't Think of a Title Devoid Of Tastless Sheep Jokes

You can't go wrong with gay sheep jokes, to start with, but this article contains some interesting science, too. Turns out that around 8% of rams actually prefer other rams, and "will swiftly pounce on any ram stuck in a fence, the sheep equivalent of prison showers". Ewes, too, might be lesbian, but since female sheep express a desire for sex by standing still, no-one's quite sure (and there may be a lot of frustrated female sheep).

The real punchline, though, is that an actual biological difference (in the size of the hypothalamus), identifiable from the third trimester of pregnancy, has been identified as the cause of homosexual behaviour in sheep. Sheep really are born gay or straight, the first hard evidence scientific evidence of this in mammals.

It's worth reading the whole article, but this fact alone, and the distress it should cause religions the world over, will have me sleeping very soundly tonight.


Blogger Jim Newman said...

Jim Newman here again from the university that is actually conducting the research.

In regards to the Sunday Times article which is the source of all these wild conspiracy theories, I am pleased that a writer has thoroughly investigated the article. As he reports, the Sunday Times article basically a piece of science fiction filled with major errors and false claims. His analysis also raises important questions about the timing of the article which comes almost five years after the research was actually conducted.

Here’s a link to that analysis that anyone who is interested in this topic should read:

A wolf in gay sheep's clothing: Corruption at the London Times

12:45 AM  

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