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Courtship In Mammals

Mammals use various strategies in courtship. Pheromones act as sexual lures that bring members of the opposite sex together. These attractants are so powerful that a male dog can smell a female in estrus more than half a mile (1 km) away. The fact that at puberty humans begin to produce odorous sweat suggests the role of pheromones in primate courtship. Sex selection also exists in primates. Females usually choose their male partners, but sometimes the reverse occurs. Recent research reveals that male lion-tailed macaques remain aloof during the day. At night, however, they seek out sleeping estrous females for mating. Until this study, biologists thought that it was the females who initiated mating. In humans, various cultures determine the customs of courtship. For example, in some societies, marriages are arranged by relatives. In these cases, a woman is matched to a man with the appropriate resources. Just as other female animals select mates with resources, humans tend to select mates with wealth and status. Further, even if a woman has no say in the selection of her husband, she will help arrange the marriage of her offspring. This merely delays female mate choice by a generation.



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Bernice Essenfeld


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—Showy exhibition by an animal that reveals information to others.


—Communal area used by birds and insects for courtship and mate selection.


—Chemical odorant that provides communication between animals.


—Species-specific behavior pattern or ceremony used for communication between animals.

Additional topics

Science EncyclopediaScience & Philosophy: Cosine to Cyano groupCourtship - Courtship In Insects, Courtship In Fish, Courtship In Birds, Courtship In Mammals