A page at the beginning of the relevant section features an image of a naked male touching the stomach of a heavily pregnant female — a conventional image of the end to which reproductive sex leads. Scientists impose human categories on animals at their peril. Like some of the images circulating in the bestiaries, these illustrations presented a kaleidoscopic view of creaturely coitus. Arguably, a similar conversation is playing out today. If this seems like an odd strategy, consider the fact that semelparous creatures often produce more offspring. Think March of the Penguins or 's controversial Noah. A bunch of them have sex with the queen bee in succession, and then they all drop dead. To picture a female, imagine a black lump sticking out of a wasp's rear end. Not every evolutionary success story is glamorous.
A search on YouTube turns up a wealth of related footage. Such imagery suggests that even within the sphere of reproduction there is potential for variety and multiplicity. The medieval science of sex Books translating and commenting on the biological works of the ancient philosopher Aristotle also sometimes adopted such perspectives. They live only on the island of Madagascar, and really only within a very small portion of the forest. They truly prove that even intelligent creatures can throw it all away for one wild night. Designed to present a Christianised interpretation of the natural world, these volumes perpetuated a traditional Noah's ark view of biology. The presumed "heterosexuality" of animals has also traditionally provided a backhanded justification for regulating human sexual activity. Such representations perpetuate the belief that animals are best seen through the lens of human "norms" of gender, sex and family. But they also often featured creatures that don't seem to fit the "heterosexual" mould. A page at the beginning of the relevant section features an image of a naked male touching the stomach of a heavily pregnant female — a conventional image of the end to which reproductive sex leads. Deep-sea octopuses NOAA Female Graneledone boreopacifica live thousands of feet underwater and spend a significant chunk of their lives starving to death as they keep a watchful eye on their eggs. No one seems to want to photograph just the drones. For example, the hyena , which medieval scholars thought possessed male and female sexual organs that the animal used indiscriminately, is depicted in some illustrations with enlarged humanoid genitals. Think March of the Penguins or 's controversial Noah. Drone bees , unlike their female compatriots, exist primarily to have sex with the queen bee. It is, in fact, a feature of the species. Pacific Salmon Bureau of Land Management Salmon famously migrate up-river in order to lay their roe, leaping up small waterfalls and literally swimming against the tide to reach their destination. What's more, the same margins also feature other examples of monstrous births, depicted as human-animal hybrids, including a lion-man with a bearded human head. These animals spend their whole lives waiting to have sex, and then they die Existing just to have sex is a solid evolutionary strategy. Meanwhile, in the centre of the same page, a pair of naked humans, framed in a gold initial, are represented locked in an intimate embrace, the lower halves of their bodies chastely obscured by the decoration. Categories such as "gay" or "trans" are not ageless absolutes, after all. Yet a historical perspective on these issues is often lacking. Corresponding to Albert's description of the "monstrosity" he calls "hermaphrodite", however, the illustrator has also included a rare medieval depiction of an intersex person possessing both male and female genitalia. Like some of the images circulating in the bestiaries, these illustrations presented a kaleidoscopic view of creaturely coitus. A donkey gets astride a whinnying mare.
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