A team of researchers from the Mandurah Dolphin Research Project in Western Australia recently observed big groups of dolphins engaging in what is being described as homosexual behavior.

Krista Nicholson of the Murdoch University told the Mandurah Mail about the team's observations.

Researchers studied the socializing of a group of dolphins after peak mating season was over.

“These dolphins, all but three of them juveniles, organized themselves in four sub-groups in which they were observed engaging in socio-sexual behavior that included mounting and genital contact between individuals,” Nicholson said.

“The subgroups joined, frequently forming a large group and then split again in different group compositions.”

“Homosexual behavior, as identified here, has been described for dolphin populations elsewhere,” she said, including dolphins in nearby Shark Bay.

“Apart from homosexual behavior, males, unlike females, in Shark Bay have also been recorded to perform synchronous displays,” Nicholson said. “In Shark Bay, where male dolphins form lifelong alliances, socio-sexual interactions between males are more common than between females or between the sexes.”

Nicholson added that such behavior might play a part in the development of social bonds between male dolphins. Another researcher who has written about homosexual behavior in animals and studied dolphins at Shark Bay said that another possible reason is for males to practice “courtship behaviors for adulthood.”