Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Bowerbird Bachelor Pads With Best Illusion Snag Mates

Everyone likes a good optical illusion, and that includes at least one animal. Male bowerbirds woo females by constructing a bachelor pad that creates an illusion of uniform décor (and the illusion that their owners are much more robust lads than they really are).

And a new study suggests the females tend to choose mates from those who produce the best illusion.
Male great bowerbirds —pigeon-size birds native to Australia — spend the majority of their time building and maintaining their courtship sites, called bowers. A bower consists of a tunnel-like avenue made of densely woven sticks that leads to a court of gray stones, shells and bones. Previous research suggested the birds arrange items in such a way that the court appears uniform and small to a female viewing it from within the avenue, which makes the male appear much larger and more impressive than he really is.
Bowerbirds are the only animals so far that have been shown to use illusions for mating.

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