David Attenborough's nature documentaries are some of the best loved programming from the UK, indeed Attenborough is probably one of the best loved people in the UK. However, Dr Brett Mills from the University of East Anglia has recently published a paper criticising the broadcaster for presenting a potentially falsified version of events in his descriptions of the animals' behaviours.
As the Telegraph reports, Dr Mills, whose paper is published in the European Journal of Cultural Studies, highlights specific scenes in Sir Attenborough's documentaries which he believes have been misconstrued. For instance, male chimpanzees having a cuddle was described by Attenborough as 'bonding', but Dr Mills notes that this could in fact be "driven by sexual motives." Furthermore, Attenborough describes many animals' behaviours as being in the context of a 'family', which is arguably a human concept which does not relate to many species.
"The central role in documentary stories of pairing, mating and raising offspring commonly rests on assumptions of heterosexuality within the animal kingdom." Dr Mills said, "This is despite a wealth of scientific evidence which demonstrates that many non-human species have complex and changeable forms of sexual activity, with heterosexuality only one of many possible options."
Dr Mills' recommendations aren't limited to just describing the animals as either gay or straight (another potentially fabricated concept), instead he suggests explaining that many animals engage in a variety of sexual activity.