Why Do We Fall In Love? Birds Might Have The Answer

A new study shows how birds benefit when they choose their partners.

Zebra finches 
When zebra finches are allowed to choose their own mates, they and their offspring benefit.

Is there a reason we?e so choosy when it comes to finding someone to settle down with? It might mean better care for our children if we?e in love with our partners. Now, while this might seem like common sense, it seems to go against the idea of our body? desire to pass on its genes no matter what. As Science Daily writes in their article, “Birds reveal the evolutionary importance of love:?lt;/span>

“ŠEvolution is an unforgiving force ?isn’t this choosiness rather a costly waste of time and energy when we should just be ?oing forth and multiplying??What, if anything, is the evolutionary point of it all??lt;/span>

Well, there may be a reason for it, and researchers have used birds to show it.

In a study called “Fitness Benefits of Mate Choice for Compatibility in a Socially Monogamous Species,?published the journal, PLOS Biology, researchers allowed a group of zebra finches to choose their mates. Then, they separate the zebra finches into two groups. One group was allowed to keep their chosen mates; the others were broken apart and paired with someone new. Then the researchers looked to see what happened.

Birds who had chosen their mates had “a 37 percent higher success rate of reproduction,?according to Quartz.com But for the pairs that had been matched up by the researchers had completely different results.

As Quartz.com writes in their article, “Study: Birds that mate for love have more successful bird families:?lt;/span>

“Female finches who had been forced into arranged pairs were found less willing to mate. Their partners were also significantly more negligent when their offspring hatched, not to mention more likely to stray to other females. Assigned pairs had more infertile eggs and higher mortality rates in hatched babies.?lt;/span>

As the researchers write in the study? “Author Summary:?lt;/span>

“The last half-century has seen a tremendous interest in the study of mate choice and the evolution of traits that make individuals attractive to others. In some species, however, individuals can differ substantially in who they find attractive, and this variation has typically been interpreted as ?ate choice for compatibility.?Here, we quantify the benefits of such mate choice in a socially monogamous passerine bird, the zebra finch. We found that pairs that resulted from free mate choice achieved a 37% higher reproductive success than pairs that were forced to mate with a randomly assigned individual. Forced pairs suffered from increased failure to fertilize eggs and from increased mortality of hatched offspring. In females, we observed a reduced readiness to copulate with the assigned partner, while males that were force-paired showed reduced parental care and increased activity in courting extra-pair females. These findings support the hypothesis that zebra finches choose mates on the basis of behavioral compatibility. In contrast, it appears that zebra finches have not evolved a mechanism that would allow them to select a partner with whom they could minimize the rate of embryo mortality. This argues against mate choice for genetic compatibility.?lt;/span>

So there you go! There? a reason we fall in love and are so choosy. So be like a bird: Be choosy.

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