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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Biological Exuberance is a book of great queer science. Two ganders who work together as a mated pair? Two female bears raising their four cubs together? A kangaroo with both a female pouch and male sex organs? Who's been keeping all this a secret? Homosexual mating and pairing occur in all species, so contends author Bruce Bagemihl in this well-researched book on animal homosexualities. Bagemihl is a biologist and researcher who went from teaching to working at Microsoft, and now he's produced one phenomenal book on gay, lesbian, bisexual, and tr ansgendered animal life. Bagemihl first shows how past biologists and anthropologists have made their errors in reportage regarding observations in the field of homosexual behavior among the beasts (interestingly enough, all homosexual behavior tended to be called either aggressive or passive, and not about mating or affection between animals, even though it was often the identical mating behavior as the heterosexually-oriented animals). In this often lively, but sometimes overwhelmingly encyclopedic study and listing of homosexual diversity in the animal kingdom, the author has done a phenomenal job of bringing science into a popular idiom so that the animal behavior he details i s understandable to the layperson.Biological Exuberance is divided into two main sections, "A Polysexual, Polygendered World" and "A Wondrous Bestiary: Portraits of Homosexual, Bisexual, and Transgendered Wildlife." The first section primarily deals with how we as a civilization have viewed animal sexuality in the past, and themyths we'vebuilt up around it, and the author's term, "biological exuberance." Here's how Bagemihl himself describes it. The essence ofBiological Exuberanceis that natural systems are driven as much by abundance and excess as they are by limitation and practicality. Seen in this light, homosexuality and nonreproductive heterosexuality are "expected" o ccurrences — they are one manifestation of an overall "extravagance" of biological systems that has many other expressions. In the second major section of the book, the author breaks his studies down into individual animal species and subgroupings of species. Fascinating, page-turning in its own way, and full of pictures of homosexual matings and sexual congress among our furry and feathered friends,Biolobical Exuberance is one of the most readable scientifically-based books of the year. Get this one. It is amazing.