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June 6

Tall, dark, and feathered

Filed under: News — posted by Jackie @ 9:03 am

Would a chick prefer a mate with a sun-kissed complexion? She would if she has wings and a penchant for tree-dwelling lovers.

According to a recent study published in the journal Current Biology, male barn swallows whose breast feathers were darkened appeared more attractive to female birds and showed higher testosterone levels than male swallows left with their natural, lighter coloring.

“It’s the ‘clothes make the man’” notion, said Rebecca Safran, a co-author of the study. “It’s like you’re walking down the street and you’re driving a Rolls Royce and people notice. And your physiology accommodates this.” The peak in testosterone levels may also be a result of the revved up mating or a perception of the pecking order among other male swallows in proximity.

What does this research reveal for humans? More than you might think, as people’s mating habits are actually similar to those of birds. “Barn swallows are ‘socially monogamous and genetically promiscuous,’ same as humans,” Safran says.

With summer here, maybe a little Vitamin D could enhance your love life? BG tip: Don’t forget the SPF.


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