Meet the Zoologist Exposing the Sex Lives of the Animal Kingdom


| LAST UPDATE 05/27/2022

By Elena White
Lucy Cooke, Animal Kingdom
Lucy Cooke/Future Publishing via Getty Images

Lucy Cooke's new book B****: A Revolutionary Guide to Sex, Evolution & the Female Animal is here to break down all our preconceptions about the sex lives and gender roles within the animal kingdom. She argues that we've long viewed the animal world through an outdated Victorian lens which claims "that a host of grim male behaviors – from... compulsive skirt-chasing to male supremacy – were only natural for humans because Darwin said so." Her study gives case examples of how "female animals are just as promiscuous, competitive, aggressive, dominant and dynamic as males." Here's a taster of what you'll learn inside the book...

From hyenas with massive reproductive organs to same-sex relationships, there's a whole other side to the animal kingdom that we have no idea about, and Lucy is here to change that. Whiptail lizards enjoy sexual acts with all partners, regardless of gender; female ducks have spiral-shaped reproductive organs - and more. Squirrel monkeys are a female-dominant species. "They look cute, but they're a bunch of bad-*** b****es," Cooke told The Guardian during a visit to the enclosure in London Zoo. 

Squirrel Monkey, Lucy Cooke
Stock Photo via Getty Images
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Lucy traveled to over sixty countries and biological field stations to ensure her book was based on the most accurate evidence. The ultimate adventurer, she trekked through the snowy terrain to observe sage grouse in Yosemite, followed lemurs in Madagascar, and even dug through whale poo in Seattle. Luckily for us, she recounts it all in her book. Talking to The Guardian about her recent trip to Tanzania and Rwanda, she explained how her mountain gorilla observations underpinned all her theories in the book about nurture not being an exclusively female trait. "They are this classic patriarchal species, males are these terrifying muscular creatures, but what I witnessed is them being incredibly tender with the babies."

After studying zoology at Oxford, Cooke set out to become the next David Attenborough. After a brief unfulfilling documentary filmmaking career, she quit to travel South America and explore her theories. Updating her followers on her findings through her blog Amphibian Avenger, she was finally happy. She was offered a series on the National Geographic based on the blog, and she's been sharing animal kingdom sexual and gender secrets on the small screen ever since. "When it comes to sex, anything goes."

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