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Simon Le Vay introduced the further caveat that "[a]lthough homosexual behavior is very common in the animal world, it seems to be very uncommon that individual animals have a long-lasting predisposition to engage in such behavior to the exclusion of heterosexual activities.Thus, a homosexual orientation, if one can speak of such thing in animals, seems to be a rarity." The sexual behavior of non-human animals takes many different forms, even within the same species, though homosexual behavior is best known from social species.
This lack of distinction has led to differing opinions and conflicting interpretations of collected data amongst scientists and researchers.
Numerous scholars are of the opinion that varying levels (either higher or lower) of the sex hormones in the animal, play a direct role in the sexual behavior and preference exhibited by that animal.
Others firmly argue no evidence to support these claims exists when comparing animals of a specific species exhibiting homosexual behavior exclusively and those that do not.
We identified a cell group within the medial preoptic area/anterior hypothalamus of age-matched adult sheep that was significantly larger in adult rams than in ewes...
A definite physiological explanation or reason for homosexual activity in animal species has not been agreed upon by researchers in the field.
The motivations for and implications of these behaviors have yet to be fully understood, since most species have yet to be fully studied.
The observation of homosexual behavior in animals can be seen as both an argument for and against the acceptance of homosexuality in humans, and has been used especially against the claim that it is a peccatum contra naturam ("sin against nature").
Many of the animals used in laboratory-based studies of homosexuality do not appear to spontaneously exhibit these tendencies often in the wild.
Such behavior is often elicited and exaggerated by the researcher during experimentation through the destruction of a portion of brain tissue, or by exposing the animal to high levels of steroid hormones prenatally.
For instance, Bruce Bagemihl, author of the book Biological Exuberence: Animal Homosexuality and Natural Diversity, emphasizes that there are no anatomical or endocrinological differences between exclusively homosexual and exclusively heterosexual animal pairs.
However, if the definition of "homosexual behavior" is made to include animals that participate in both same-sex and opposite-sex mating activities, hormonal differences have been documented among key sex hormones, such as testosterone and estradiol, when compared to those who participate solely in heterosexual mating.
Homosexual behaviour in animals has been discussed since classical antiquity.