By April Overall
Every girl likes to be romanced a little. Some flowers. Extra points if they’re her favourite. A dinner out at the city’s latest hot spot. Oh yes. The smooth guy gets the girl for a reason. So guys, if you’re listening, never underestimate the power of romance. Need a little help in the love department? Take a cue from Mother Nature. Some animals are remarkably in synch with their ability to show they care for one another.
Crooner with a cause.
If your pipes are half as good as the humpback whale, you’re one lucky guy. Male humpback whales serenade females with songs that can last for hours. In fact, one composition can last more than 10 minutes! Researchers believe the volume, length and intricacy of its songs can indicate the male’s fitness. The louder, longer and more complicated the song, the more likely a female will be to pay attention. Listen to their songs here.
I made you dinner!
Some male spiders give tasty treats in the hopes that it’ll score points with the ladies. After the male common European nursery web spider catches an insect, he’ll wrap it up in silk, toss it in his mouth and scout out a pretty dame. Once he sets his eyes on a potential mate, he’ll offer her the gift. But that doesn’t mean she’ll accept. If it’s too small, the female snubs him; but if it’s big enough, she’ll chow down and mate with the male.
Sometimes love means saying you’re sorry.
Need advice on how to get out of the doghouse? Look no further than….dogs! Canids like dogs, wolves and coyotes love to roughhouse but sometimes they can get a little carried away while playing. They say sorry by bowing (the same way they ask to play), crouching down on forelimbs, signifying honesty and trust. If you don’t pay attention you’ll miss it though; a bow only lasts 0.3 seconds long. If the canid betrays that trust, they risk being excluded by the pack.
Make you feel my love
Bacteria, fungi, parasites and dirt can leave feathers dingy, less able to hold in the heat, ineffective for waterproofing and make birds poor fliers. This is why preening is so important. Birds can spend hours preening their feathers every day, and while many preen solo, some birds prefer to make it a social activity. Babblers, waxbills, pigeons, parrots, and an array of nesting seabirds participate in allopreening - preening one another.
Researchers have studied the red avadat, an allopreening finch in India, and found out that allopreening can actually be a picky thing! Red avadats don’t preen just anyone. They have standards. Each bird only allopreens certain birds as a way to strengthen their social bonds.
I love you more. No, I love you more.
Until recently, spindle cells were considered unique to humans and some primates. They reside in an area of the brain that is connected to social organization, sensitivity to others feelings, as well as empathy. However, it seems we’re not alone in the caring for others department. Researchers recently found spindle cells in humpback whales, fin whales, killer whales and sperm whales in the same region of the brain! And guess what? We’ve been outdone; whales have more spindle cells than we do!