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First scientific report of fellatio in captive brown bears

The Ig Nobel Prize-winning study Fellatio by Fruit Bats Prolongs Copulation Time,” [by Min Tan, Gareth Jones, Guangjian Zhu, Jianping Ye, Tiyu Hong, Shanyi Zhou, Shuyi Zhang and Libiao Zhang, published in PLoS ONE, vol. 4, no. 10, e7595] is one of several intellectual forebears (another is a study by Ig Nobel Prize winner Frans de Waal) cited in a new study about fellatio in captive brown bears. Here’s a photo of lead author Agnieszka Sergiel with a captive bear:

The new study is:

Fellatio in Captive Brown Bears: Evidence of long-term effects of suckling deprivation?” Agnieszka Sergiel, Robert Maślak, Andreas Zedrosser, Łukasz Paśko, David L. Garshelis, Slaven Reljić and Djuro Huber, Zoo Biology, epub June 4, 2014. The authors, at the Polish Academy of Sciences, the University of Wroclaw, Telemark University College, Bø, Norway, the University for Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, Grand Rapids, Minnesota, USA, and the University of Zagreb, Zagreb, Croatia, write:

“Here, we report on a case of two male brown bears, raised in captivity since being orphaned as cubs, which engaged in recurrent fellatio multiple times per day until at least 10 years old. The roles of provider and receiver in the act remained unchanged, and the behavior itself became highly ritualized. The provider always initiated the contact involving vigorous penile sucking that appeared to result in ejaculation. We suggest that the behavior began as a result of early deprivation of maternal suckling, and persisted through life, possibly because it remained satisfying for both individuals. This constitutes the first descriptive report of fellatio in bears, and suggests that some bears may suffer lifelong behavioral consequences from being orphaned at an early age.”

Jason Goldman writes an appreciation of the discovery, in Io9.

(Thanks to investigator Irene Delse for bringing this to our attention.)

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