Gay gene and bad parents out, neoteny in?

Desmond Morris, author of the Naked Ape, has a new book out called the Naked Man. Not a protocol for your next New Warriors Training Adventure, rather, it is an attempt to apply zoology to human behavior. In this article, Richard Brooks reviews reaction to Morris’ new theory where

…he concludes that men are “made gay” because they retain infantile or juvenile characteristics into adulthood – a phenomenon known as neoteny.

According to this theory, gay men also tend to be more inventive and creative than heterosexuals because they are more likely to retain the mental agility and playfulness of childhood.

With his new theory, he has left the reparative/Freudian reservation.

Morris, who is 80 in January, long thought that absent fathers led to boys and young male adults becoming gay. “[It is] the dominant and ever-present mother theory,” he said. “But now I’m convinced that is wrong, and that it is neoteny which makes people gay. Gays are using what is reproductive or creatively constructive to non-reproductive ends. This is very much a positive.”

Not all agree of course.

His theory was, however, attacked by Steve Jones, professor of genetics at University College London. “It’s arts faculty science to say that gays are neotenous,” he said. “It’s a stupid idea. Where is the real evidence?”

And as if we needed anymore whacks at the gay gene, we read

Most commentators though, including Morris, Tatchell and Glenn Wilson – co-author of the book Born Gay, published in 2005 – believe that the so-called “gay gene” theory is discredited.

Speaking of gay genes, fruit fly sexual orientation is of great interest to all people who like fruit. I, for one, would like it if the little critters would stop being so prolific in my kitchen. At any rate, researcher David Featherstone is pretty excited about the discovery of a gene he called genderblind (GB). GB is involved in distinguishing male and female and with some laboratory manipulation can make straight flies gay.

Putting the two studies together…well, I will leave that to you and Dave Letterman.

H/t on the neoteny article to Jayhuck