by Becky Ellis
Birds do it, bees do it, and if you happen to be in London, you can see hyenas, flies and chimpanzees doing it, too. Last week, London’s Museum of Natural History opened its ‘Sexual Nature’ exhibition, which explores the mating habits of the wild kingdom. The display includes red deer stag, monkeys and hedgehogs, all positioned in ways that give new meaning to the words “mounted animals.” This not just a staid, scientific recounting of the mechanics of pollination, or a description of a peacock flaunting his feathers; this is graphic, 3-D animal porn.
There’s also a surprising narrative arc: In spite of strictly biological–rather than emotional–motives, animals’ mating games have plot points that could have been penned by Shakespeare himself, including jealous lovers, elaborate seduction rituals and sometimes tragic ends. The banana slug, for example, gnaws off its penis after intercourse, leaving it in the female so that no one else can penetrate her. A female spider might eat a male who fails to seduce her, or even bite off her lover’s head should she desire a post-coital snack.
Elsewhere around the web:
-A pair of white rhinos at the Madison, WI, zoo have spent nearly 40 years in a loving, but sexless marriage.
-Treehugger determined that men’s courtship rituals have devolved past that of their animal brethren, and compiled a slideshow of dating do’s featuring mating strategies of our fine furry and feathered friends.
photos courtesy of The Guardian