Love and other animals: Terry Tom Brown

Saturday, September 8, 2012 - 18:30 in Biology & Nature

To black vultures, infidelity doesn't come without consequencesHumans are not alone in their difficulties with monogamy. Of the nearly 5,000 species of mammals, only about 4% stay with one mate for life. Some believe the desire to couple with multiple partners stems from a biological instinct to spread genetic material. For many black vultures, infidelity is too hard to resist.When black vultures are interested in one another, they leave the flock and a chase ensues in midair. The dark, sleek creatures fly to great heights, latch on to one another, and spiral down like acrobats in a heroic, romantic display. After mating, the females lay their eggs and both birds take on the strenuous responsibility of caring for their offspring. But for some males, the desire to be with another female is too great. The unfaithful slip away and perform similar rituals with others before returning to their life-long mate as...

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