B2 High-Intermediate US 65 Folder Collection
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Hi Dr Joe!
First time long time!
I’m a big fan of the show, but very lonely.
Very very lonely.
I wish I had someone to share your videos with (aside from my cats).
Can science help me find the partner of my dreams?
Signed, Curiously Alone.
Well well well, you’ve come to the right place.
When it comes to courtship, human nature can learn a lot from *nature* nature, because
feathered, flippered, or furry… we’re all just looking for love, or the equivalent
totally-non-anthropomorphic mating behavior.
Is that romance in the air?
Or is it just beaver butts?
Beavers secrete a fluid from their rear ends called castoreum, to mark territory and attract
potential mates.
I’m told it smells like a fruity vanilla… with hints of leather, and old urine, so naturally
humans use it to make perfume.
For us, a spritz of perfume or a dash of cologne sends a different message: “Hello.
I am disease free and pleasant-smelling.
Let’s get to know each other better.”
They might not do “The Dougie,” or the Dab… or whatever move the kids are doing
these days, but animals often play dance-dance-evolution to lure potential mates.
Boobies have mastered the two step
while red-capped manakins prefer a more MJ approach;
peacock spiders do what I like to call the “samba twerk"
scientists have even found evidence that ancient Colorado was a dinosaur dance floor, where giant lizards
would dance like no one was watching, and love like they’d never be annihilated by
a giant asteroid.
Humans don’t always dance to impress, in fact I do the opposite, but at its core, “ritualized
movement” is a display of “fitness”.
If they have the energy and strength to bust a move, it’s a sign that an animal will
make a strong partner – and will be able to survive the dreaded Predator dance-off.
A peacock’s fancy duds, and perhaps our own, send a similar message: if an animal
doesn’t look great, it’s not a fit mate.
We’ve all heard that “the best way to the heart is through the stomach”, but it’s
actually directly through the center of the rib cage.
In a less bloody sense, this saying means that eating is an important part of courtship.
Some mantids, spiders and scorpions eat their mates, while white-fronted parrots regurgitate
in each others’ mouths.
None of these are particularly good strategies for a human *first* date, but in the wild
these behaviors accomplish a similar goal as you cooking a nice meal for your boo.
Trading calories for courtship.
Again, this shows an animal’s ability to provide for a mate, and maybe even future
So definitely buy those chocolates.
There’s a famous poem: How do I love thee?
Let me play you this mixtape.
But other animals were singing and composing songs long before humans first held a boombox
overhead, and there’s perhaps no better example of this than whales.
Or should I say “thaaannnn innn whhhaaalllesss”
Humpback males will even sort of “riff” on each other’s slow jams, their shared
songs can evokolve.
In this way they are a lot like Phish, by which of course I mean the notable jam band,
and not the aquatic animal with gills.
Scientists think female humpbacks actually prefer the musical innovators as mates.
We’re not entirely sure why, but it could be the cool hair.
Of course proclaiming your love from the mountaintop isn’t everyone’s romantic style.
After all, scientists have found the loudest howler monkeys often have the smallest…
If you're more of homebody-wallflower-introvert, have no fear, your wild counterpart is here.
The bowerbird.
These avian architects spend weeks building and decorating mating shrines, nature’s
version of a swanky pad.
Poop, flowers, shells, trash – sure, there’s bit of a “hoarder” vibe going on, but
they DO coordinate colors.
They even steal from other bowers to get their own decorations just right.
To our bowerbird viewers out there, I can not condone this behavior.
This pufferfish might be the master of nest appeal.
They spend days creating intricate mandalas for their mates, like underwater crop circles.
They’re so complex, it took nearly 20 years for us humans figure out what was making
them, even M. Night Shyamalan couldn’t solve the mystery.
Of course, maybe all this kerfuffle doesn’t seem worth the trouble.
Then take a nod from the chambered nautilus.
When it’s time to find a mate, this kooky cephalopod detaches it’s sex organ and sends
the dismembered member off like a heat-seeking missile.
I regret that I can find no human parallel to this behavior,
but let it serve as a reminder that love can be a very confusing thing indeed
So, Curiously Alone, after this list I’m sure you’ll have no trouble whatsoever finding
the significant other of your dreams.
Or at least someone to watch videos with.
Above all remember that what makes human courtship so special is that it is no one thing, and
perhaps more than any animal, we all love in our own way.
Stay curious.
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What If Animals Gave Relationship Advice?

65 Folder Collection
Seraya published on March 5, 2020    Mark Bluck translated    Evangeline reviewed
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