“The more complex and sophisticated a social system is,” she writes, “the more likely it is to have homosexuality intermixed with heterosexuality.”It's an hypothesis, but I'll only go as far as treating it as one among many. Roughgarden is adamant, though:
“I’m convinced that in 50 years, the gay-straight dichotomy will dissolve. I think it just takes too much social energy to preserve. All this campy, flamboyant behavior: It’s just such hard work.”That'll be the day! The bet is on. I'll even go as far as ridicule: You must be joking!? In 50 years the continuum of sexual behavior is so ubiquitous that the extremes are the oddities? Not bloody likely.
And there are plenty of hypotheses to explain homosexual behavior. And none of them challenge sexual selection. If I may quote from one of my own posts:
Adaptive explanations: Social glue, Intrasexual conflict, Practice, Kin selection, Indirect insemination, Overdominance, Sexually antagonistic selectionPeacocks:
Non-adaptive explanations: Mistaken identity, Prison effect, Evolutionary byproduct, Maladaptation, Infection
Roughgarden’s cataloging of sexual diversity has challenged a fundamental biological theory. If Darwinian sexual selection—whatever its current variant—is to survive, it must adapt to this new data and come up with convincing explanations for why a host of animals just aren’t like peacocks.It's the classical example, and from personal observation, I think we've all gotten the peacock wrong, by the way. The story is that the male peacock's tail-feathers are so flamboyant in order to attract females, but that they increase the risk of getting taken by predators. The choice of the females drives sexual selection, and the males that get to mate are the ones with the biggest feathers. However, for me to be convinced that this is true, two things must be shown to me. 1) That predators really have an easier time catching the sexiest males, and 2) that the male peacocks I have seen showing off their feathers to admiring humans who get very close are actually sexually interested in mating with the humans (I'm not being ironic - this is totally possible). I will venture a guess that the first isn't really true, because the second phenomenon occurs because the male is trying to scare off the humans/predators. And perhaps scaring predators works best when you have huge feathers. There are other species who try to scare off predators by faking size:
Do you know of any other examples?