Tuesday, December 28, 2010


Humans aren't alone. Romance appears to roam among animals too.

Here are illustrations by Dugaid Stermer, for Time Magazine.

For me, it's not just the pictures of these creatures that I enjoy -- it's their relationship to one another.

Known for their elaborate displays of public affection, these parrot pairs are often spotted engaging in open-beak kissing. The Mexican and Central American natives form a lifelong bond with their mates and share the responsibility of caring for younglings. Like bereft widowed humans, some parrots will die shortly after their partner does.

Commitment doesn't scare them. Unlike most of their fellow primates, nearly 99% of these South American natives establish lifelong bonds with their partners. In a show of their unyielding affection, the tiny monkeys may sleep together on a tree branch with their long tails intertwined.

Their love may last only one season, but it endures all manner of things. Separated for months at a time, the birds can pick out their mates among thousands of others.

Money can't buy love, but among bowerbirds, real estate sure can. To attract a partner, a male creates an ornate structure, known as a bower, out of sticks, moss and other objects, as a home for his potentially lifelong companion. Some males even use chewed-up berries to paint a bower's walls.

Love knows no intelligence. Burying beetles, so named because they bury the remains of small animals to use as food, may mate for life. They cooperate to raise their young, looking out for them even after they've hatched. They may not have glamorous lives, but they build a nice family.

These primates would much rather find love in short-term bonds than take the plunge. Lovers groom each other, kiss, make up after fights and can even take mini-vacations together. What's more, bonobos, close cousins of chimps, mate face-to-face.

Males can become so lovesick during courtship that they simply stop eating. Females are more levelheaded, at least when it comes to sex. They choose lovers wisely, typically waiting four years to mate.

Seemingly monogamous for at least part of the year, they often display affection by nipping, nuzzling and chasing their mate. Males and females care for their young together.

You won't find these rodents out on the prowl after a breakup. As one of the few mammals to display what scientists call social monogamy, they typically refuse to find another companion after a partner dies or otherwise goes missing.


Post a Comment