Animals Have Evolved to Seduce Potential Mates Similarly to the Way Humans Do
The Art of Seduction
When it comes to the art of seduction, some animals seem to have evolved to display behaviors or use methods that in some instances, closely resemble those of human beings. According to Geoffrey Miller, author of the "Mating Mind", some of the very few animals that spend significant time and energy constructing purely aesthetic displays beyond their own bodies are the male Bowerbirds of Australia and New Guinea. He sees this as a clear picture of female sexual choice.
The author states that each of the eighteen existing species of these birds constructs a different style of nest. It is believed that these nests, designed only by males are only for the purpose of courtship. It is the responsibility of each male to build his own nest, then tries to attract females to mate with him inside.
According to the author, usually the males, who are superior builders of bowers can mate up to ten times a day with different females. For example, Golden Bowerbirds of northern Australia, though only nine inches long, are known to build a sort of "roofed gazebo" up to a spectacular nine feet in height which they used to attract different females.
To assist in the decoration of their bowers, it's believed that the males of most species use mosses, ferns, orchids, snail shells,berries and bark. One interesting finding, is that these males would fly around searching for the most brilliantly colored natural objects, then bring them back to their bowers, and arrange them carefully in clusters of uniform colors. It is believed that when the color of the building materials fades, the males simply replace them with fresh material.
In an attempt to replace such appealing colors, the male often try to steal ornaments, especially blue feathers, from the bowers of other males, and in some cases, they even try to destroy the bower of rivals. The strength they display to defend their delicate work is a precondition of their artistry, according to the author. It has been said that females appear to favor bowers that are sturdy, symmetrical, and well-ornamented with color.
One interesting revelation, is that Bowerbirds often take an astonishing step further in their decorative efforts, by constructing what is described as "Avenue-shape bowers", consisting of a walkway flanked by two long walls. These birds then use bluish regurgitated fruit residues to paint the inner walls of their bowers, sometimes using a wad of leaves or bark held in the beak. This is believed to be one of the few examples of a "tool" used by birds under natural conditions. It's assumed that the females have favored the best male painters for many generations.
As miller puts it, sexual selection for ornamental bower- building has not replace sexual selection for the more usual kinds of display. In his opinion, males of many bowerbird species are much more brightly colored than females. The custom of these males is to dance in front of the bowers when females arrive. They would engage in singing, producing what the author describes as wheezes and cries, and good imitations of the songs of other species.
Many other species have not only evolved mate preferences but also ways to attract the mates they usually highly favored. For example, if the male African village weaverbird sees a female in close vicinity, he displays his recently build nest by suspending himself upside down from the bottom and keeps flopping his wings vigorously. If the male passes this test, the female usually approaches the nest, enters it, and examines the nest materials, poking and pulling them for as long as ten minutes. If the nest doesn't meet her approval she will leave to inspect another male's nest.
Along the evolutionary line of reasoning, overall, I personally believe that the author has done a marvelous job in addressing "animals' arts of seduction." The Bowerbirds which I find to be of particular interest, display behaviors that are so closely associated to that of human beings. Men designed and decorate fancy houses, they remodel, they also re-coated their houses with fresh coats of paint, when old coats faded. They purchase custom-made cars, they also decorate their cars with gold fancy rims, and other expensive parts, so as to appear wealthy and to attract females.
Finally, just like the bowerbirds, men will do all that is necessary, whether it's singing or dancing to the best of their abilities or even during sport competitions. They are not only doing this just for the sake of monetary gain, or for the medals, but also to be remembered, and eventually winding up being selected by one or more of the female audience or spectator!
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