Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Australian birds attract mates with 'scary movie effect'

Using a horror film to bring your date closer is a classic move in the teenage playbook. Now, a study of Australian birds finds that other animals use the same "scary movie effect" to attract female attention, by hitchhiking mating signals onto the calls of predators.

Male splendid fairy-wrens, a sexually promiscuous small bird native to Australia, are known to sing a special song each time they hear the call of one of their predators, the butcherbirds. New research from scientists at the University of Chicago finds that this seemingly dangerous behavior actually serves as a call to potential mates -- a flirtation using fear.

Published in the journal Behavioral Ecology, the study involved painstaking field research playing sound clips to splendid fairy wrens at a conservation center in Southern Australia. Experiments determined that the "vocal hitchhiking" of male birds is a courtship behavior that uses predator calls to grab the attention of female birds. ...

via Australian birds attract mates with 'scary movie effect'.

The world is going to end very soon when we run out of oil. Want to go out with me this Friday night? Aliens are coming and they will eat us. Can I buy you a drink? World War III could happen any day now.  ...


Ann said...

Here's the setting.

After his friends had drifted elsewhere one evening, Xeno finds himself sitting alone at the bar of a nightclub enjoying the music of a live band, while drinking a soft drink (Being athletically inclined he doesn't drink alcoholic beverages, although he doesn't mind if others so indulge).

A beautiful and lone woman sits in the stool next to him acting as if she's waiting for someone. Xeno decides to test his hypothesis and attempts to strike up a conversation.

"Excuse me, but did you know that the world is going to end very soon when we run out of oil. Not only that aliens are coming and they will eat us. ... Oh, can I buy you a drink?"

As the woman quickly vacates her bar stool and the bartender calls the bouncer, Xeno quickly comes to the conclusion that what works for fairy-wrens may not work for Homo sap(ien)s.

Details of this study will be published in the next issue of the Journal of Worldly Affairs.

Xeno said...

Watching X files with no lights on.... ;-)