Although the headlines and news programs might make you think otherwise, the country, indeed, the world, is full of stormy marriages.
While infidelity is not unique to humans, it is not the universal norm. Certain songbirds mate for life. Among these are finches, whose brains are wired to find a mate with whom they can spend their lives.
Male finches, in their quest for a lifelong partner, learn the song of their father. That song is precise and demanding and conveys to listeners that the source is healthy and active just like his father.
Similarly, the brain of the female of the species is wired to look for a longtime mate that compares well to her father. Her father has ensured her survival; thus a comparable mate will be beneficial to her offspring. She is a music critic, and if she hears a song that is too simple or in any way inferior to that of her father, the auditioning bird is eliminated from the competition.
In the chickpea-sized brain of finches, researchers have found a “sound control system to convert sound waves to social messages.” The songbirds then use those messages to find mates. No other species, other than humans, has this vocal learning ability. Even humans do not use vocal learning quite so effectively in mating.
Just a random idea…CRISPR technology used for editing genomes has allowed scientists to alter DNA sequences and thus modify gene function. Think of the possibilities. Finch genes could enable humans to drop Tinder, Zoosk and Match. And, in case things still don’t work out and you are no homing pigeon, you have the bird DNA to fly the coop.
Written by Margaret Pendleton & published with permission.
Featured image by A True Gentleman by Rebeccannoying
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