The researchers could find no conclusive evidence that homosexual behavior was present in human prehistory, before the rise of organized societies. Moreover, their anthropological search revealed that homosexuality does not appear to be a universal trait. In some societies, particularly those that are smaller and more isolated, homosexuality is entirely absent. For example, the Aka people of the Central African Republic don’t even have a word to describe same-sex sexual interaction. It is literally unheard of. Finally, the authors did indeed find a link between social stratification and homosexuality. The more highly stratified a society was — by rank, wealth, or power, for example — the greater the chance that male homosexuality was present.

The authors’ hypothesis is an intriguing one, and would seem to suggest that wealth inequality, which is a key driver of social stratification, may indirectly contribute to male homosexuality. The theory is a fairly novel notion, however, and will need much more evidential support before it can be taken too seriously.

To that end, Barthes and his co-authors invite others to analyze their work.