Love: For the Birds?
Like most things that human beings do, infidelity is something that we share in common with the animal kingdom, according to scientists. Can we learn more about what drives infidelity by studying… birds who cheat?
The Huffington Post reports:
Scientists are finding out a little more about the birds and the bees—and surprisingly, infidelity—by studying the mating habits of our feathered friends.
In an attempt to figure out what makes birds cheat, evolutionary ecologists at North Carolina State University and Columbia University reviewed over 400 studies about the separation tendencies of more than 200 species of birds from around the world.
Their findings, reported in the science journal PLoS One on Thursday, suggest that birds are more inclined to seek out new partners when climate conditions become unpredictable or variable.
The likely reason? The researchers found that birds, regardless of whether they’re male or female, seek out diverse genes for their young when they’re uncertain of what the future may bring. Cheating improves a bird’s chances of combining their genes with other genes best suited for whatever environment their chicks may be born into.
The flighty findings could provide us with more insight into what makes human beings stray, said Carlos Botero, one of the study’s lead researchers.
“Humans have been able to transform the environment to such a level so that basic processes like rainfall and temperature affect us very little,” Botero told Discovery.com. But humans have considerably less control over changes in the stock market or other outside economic forces—the human equivalent of an unpredictable climate, as Discovery.com points out.
What do you think—can we learn about cheating by observing animals?
“Real trust takes real time.” – Reed ext. 5105
“Is there such a thing as true love? Yes there is!” – Marin ext. 5113
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