In a landmark study, Japanese scientists have discovered that two different animals—a male Japanese macaque and a female sika deer in Japan—apparently have consensual sex with each other on occasion. While different species are known to mate, this is the first documentation of very different looking animals mating in a way that doesn’t appear to involve harassment.
The Independent UK reports that the paper, titled “Interspecies sexual behaviour between a male Japanese macaque and female sika deer,” details what’s believed to be the first-ever “reproductive interference” between such vastly different animals.
The paper notes that while different looking animals like fur seals and king penguins have been observed in mating-like behavior, scientists believe the seals are harassing the penguins. But the relationship between some male Japanese macaques and female sika deers appears to be of a more, uh, loving nature; several deer were seen “accept[ing] the mount” from the furry Old World monkeys, and that one “seemed to accept to be ridden by the male macaque” and later was seen licking the monkey’s sperm from her back.
But why are the different species doing it together? From the Independent:
The scientists say that the most likely explanation for the strange behaviour is “mate deprivation”, a theory that suggests that animals that don’t have access to females are more likely to show such behaviour.
That may have been encouraged by the fact that the two animals already play together and co-operate, and that the macaques were entering breeding season, the scientists speculated. As such, it might just be a sexual manifestation of the play already seen.
Scientists hope to study the phenomena further in the hopes of understanding why some humans are attracted to animals, like this goat-loving Georgia man allegedly is.
For other animal news, check out the story about two teens who went viral after riding their horses through McDonald’s drive-thru and this inspiring video of two dogs having sex in the back of a pick-up truck.