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Tails of the City

Nature: Why Some Animals Choose A Mate Over Others

April 4, 2014 11:01am (EDT)

Several years ago I stumbled upon the book Why Men Marry Some Women and Not Others. Based on intense scientific research, surveys and interviews with couples, it claimed to answer the age old question: why men like say George Clooney will date a gaggle of women and then suddenly according to People magazine put a ring on one lucky gal like say Amal Alamuddin.

Tonight at 8 p.m. continuing with our line up dubbed Think Wednesdays, Nature seeks to answer the same question for animals. Love in the Animal Kingdom shows why some animals choose a mate over others and how they do it. The answers seem very familiar.

Witness the courtship practices of the silverback gorilla. In a segment dubbed Gorilla Love Games, we observe why a silverback male chooses a particular female. The female at first tries to capture his attention by gazing at him directly, “smiling.”

When that approach doesn’t work, she starts flirting with younger males. That tactic does the trick. The silverback male gets jealous and comes charging back to claim her. (Hm does that sound familiar, ladies?)

In another segment dubbed the Lemur Lounge Bar, we see why one gal lemur picks her boy lemur over the others. The answer: subtlety. The pack of lemur guys fight each other while the gal lemur, in heat, just sits and watches. Meanwhile, a lone smart lemur, smothers his tail in aromatic herbs and coolly sidles up to her.

She is not convinced at first that he’s the one. But since the lemur pack of males decide not to stop fighting each other to give her the time of day, she finally settles on the one who does: Mr. Cool. (Taking notes, guys?)

Nature: Love in the Animal Kingdom reminds me of the Kevin James movie The Zookeeper in which talking zoo animals advise James’ boob of a guy on how to win back his awful ex-girlfriend.

Of course that was a movie. This is real animals and real science. It’s much more entertaining, educational and shows how animals and humans share some of the same courtship practices.

So pay attention single folks.

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