London museum goes wild with animal sex show

A museum in London is throwing caution to the wind for an exhibition on sex in the animal kingdom complete with copulating chimps and randy rabbits - just in time for Valentine's Day.

"Sexual Nature" at the Natural History Museum explores the diverse ways in which animals have evolved to procreate, such as a snail's love darts, the detachable penis of the paper nautilus, or the outsized testes of the promiscuous chimp.

The exhibition, which opens on Friday, also looks at human sexual behaviour in the context of other species.

"We ask visitors to leave their preconceptions at the door," curator Tate Greenhalgh told AFP.

"This exhibition is about the relationship between sex and evolution and the bizarre, surprising adaptations that animals have evolved to procreate as much as possible.

"We ask people to be open-minded when looking at potentially surprising, maybe shocking things that animals do that would be outlawed in human society."

Visitors are greeted by a video projection of bonobo apes, some of our closest relatives, having sex - sometimes with a baby clinging on the back, or midway through munching a pineapple.

"We can't judge other animals by our moral codes, just as we don't base our rules on their behaviour," museum-goers are told.

TV screens also show Isabella Rossellini's humorous "Green Porno" clips, with the Italian film actress dressing up as animals and acting out their mating rituals.

The exhibition, which because of its content is aimed at the over-16s, shows the seduction techniques deployed by different species and the thorny issues of sexual selection and male-female power battles.

Stuffed rabbits and foxes in the act are on show, while penis bones are also displayed, from the giant-sized walrus example to the hair's breadth penis bone of a bat.

One of the chief exhibits is Guy the Gorilla, London Zoo's most famous post-war resident. Now stuffed, he exemplifies the kind of massive primate who would run a harem of women, chase off rivals, yet display a gentle side too.

The human section features a magnetic poetry wall where people can stick romantic words together in an attempt to conjure up a winning chat-up line.

"We're affected by the same evolutionary principles: sexual selection, how we attract mates and find them," Greenhalgh said.

Richard Sabin, the museum's senior curator of mammals, said it was the first time the Victorian institution had addressed the sexual side of natural history.

"This is an opportunity for people to re-examine themselves, to look at what we all have to do to survive, which is reproduce," he told AFP.

"It shows the lengths these animals are driven to to perpetuate their genes to ensure they take forward their species."

Life and Style
love + sex A new study has revealed the average size - but does that leave men outside the 'normal' range being thought of as 'abnormal'?
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Voices
The Palace of Westminster is falling down, according to John Bercow
voices..says Matthew Norman
Sport
Steve Bruce and Gus Poyet clash
football
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
Graham Norton said Irish broadcaster RTE’s decision to settle was ‘moronic’
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Jake and Dinos Chapman were motivated by revenge to make 'Bring me the Head of Franco Toselli! '
arts + ents Shapero Modern Gallery to show explicit Chapman Brothers film
Arts and Entertainment
Kurt Cobain performing for 'MTV Unplugged' in New York, shortly before his death
music Brett Morgen's 'Cobain: Montage of Heck' debunks many of the myths
Travel
ebookHow to enjoy the perfect short break in 20 great cities
Life and Style
life
Sport
Brendan Rodgers
football The Liverpool manager will be the first option after Pep Guardiola
News
Amazon misled consumers about subscription fees, the ASA has ruled
news
Arts and Entertainment
Myanna Buring, Julian Rhind-Tutt and Russell Tovey in 'Banished'
TV Jimmy McGovern tackles 18th-century crime and punishment
Arts and Entertainment
Paul Whitehouse as Herbert
arts + ents
Independent Travel Videos
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Amsterdam
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in Giverny
Independent Travel Videos
Simon Calder in St John's
Independent Travel Videos
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Travel

    Recruitment Genius: Assistant Restaurant Manager / Sommelier

    £16000 - £18000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Receptionists - Seasonal Placement

    £12500 - £13520 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Experienced Hotel Receptionists...

    Recruitment Genius: Hotel Receptionists - Poole

    £12500 - £13520 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Located on the stunning Sandban...

    Recruitment Genius: Lifeguards / Leisure Club Attendants - Seasonal Placement

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: Qualified Lifeguards are required to join a fa...

    Day In a Page

    Syrian conflict is the world's first 'climate change war', say scientists, but it won't be the last one

    Climate change key in Syrian conflict

    And it will trigger more war in future
    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    How I outwitted the Gestapo

    My life as a Jew in wartime Berlin
    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    The nation's favourite animal revealed

    Women like cuddly creatures whilst men like creepy-crawlies
    Is this the way to get young people to vote?

    Getting young people to vote

    From #VOTESELFISH to Bite the Ballot
    Poldark star Heida Reed: 'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'

    Poldark star Heida Reed

    'I don't think a single bodice gets ripped'
    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    The difference between America and Israel? There isn’t one

    Netanyahu knows he can get away with anything in America, says Robert Fisk
    Families clubbing together to build their own affordable accommodation

    Do It Yourself approach to securing a new house

    Community land trusts marking a new trend for taking the initiative away from developers
    Head of WWF UK: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    David Nussbaum: We didn’t send Cameron to the Arctic to see green ideas freeze

    The head of WWF UK remains sanguine despite the Government’s failure to live up to its pledges on the environment
    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Author Kazuo Ishiguro on being inspired by shoot-outs and samurai

    Set in a mythologised 5th-century Britain, ‘The Buried Giant’ is a strange beast
    With money, corruption and drugs, this monk fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’

    Money, corruption and drugs

    The monk who fears Buddhism in Thailand is a ‘poisoned fruit’
    America's first slavery museum established at Django Unchained plantation - 150 years after slavery outlawed

    150 years after it was outlawed...

    ... America's first slavery museum is established in Louisiana
    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    Kelly Clarkson: How I snubbed Simon Cowell and become a Grammy-winning superstar

    The first 'American Idol' winner on how she manages to remain her own woman – Jane Austen fascination and all
    Tony Oursler on exploring our uneasy relationship with technology with his new show

    You won't believe your eyes

    Tony Oursler's new show explores our uneasy relationship with technology. He's one of a growing number of artists with that preoccupation
    Ian Herbert: Peter Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    Moores must go. He should never have been brought back to fail again

    The England coach leaves players to find solutions - which makes you wonder where he adds value, says Ian Herbert
    War with Isis: Fears that the looming battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    The battle for Mosul will unleash 'a million refugees'

    Aid agencies prepare for vast exodus following planned Iraqi offensive against the Isis-held city, reports Patrick Cockburn