The Little Rock Zoo

.The Little Rock Zoo needs to step up and care for the animals better! Please read the several artciles here with deaths, sickness and a bald chimp!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Bonobos are more prolific kissers than many human beings

There’s no such thing as a simple kiss.
The strange ritual between two sets of pursed lips has more meanings than a Pynchon novel and is worth more than a thousand words.

The passionate embrace of a sailor and nurse in Times Square, Madonna and Britney’s mouth-to-mouth moment, the betrayal kiss between Judas and Jesus — no matter how different — all fall under the definition of “kiss.” They can be deadly (the mobster kiss), creepy (Al and Tipper Gore at the 2000 Democratic National Convention), or life-giving (Snow White and her prince).

Anthropologists estimate that kissing is practiced by more than 90% of cultures in the world. Sure, it feels nice when it’s right, but what is so important about the sharing of saliva? Scientist Sheril Kirshenbaum sets out to answer the question in her pithy new book “The Science of Kissing.”

Kirshenbaum shows us that the famous words of Don Juan, “each kiss a heart-quake,” is far more accurate than intended — as she traces kissing from its infancy in ancient humans to its complex anatomy and its importance in the development of the human species.

Even animals do it

Kissing, broadly defined as the coming together of two individuals in exchange of sensory information, is not limited to human beings. Many kinds of animals neck, too.

The sex-crazed bonobo apes from the Congo — who often use sex to resolve conflicts rather than aggression — are more prolific kissers than many human beings. In fact, one scientist witnessed bonobos nibbling and kissing each other for 12 minutes straight. They kiss for reassurance, out of excitement or fear, and to firm-up relationships with others.

Other chimpanzees also kiss without tongue, which the author says is more akin to a human hug than a passionate make-out session.

Moose and squirrels brush noses, moles rub snouts and turtles tap heads. Manatees nibble their partners, and giraffes intertwine their necks. One fish from Thailand, called the kissing gourami, touches its lips with others, during feeding or fighting, or as a sign of courtship.

Strangely enough, snails “may be the most sensual critters of all, locking together while massaging each other all over.”
These “kisses” might be for affection, greeting, feeding or a bond between mother and offspring. And although the author warns against anthropomorphizing these critters, it sounds a lot like what humans do.
Man’s first kisses

Like many animals, ancient man’s first kisses weren’t relegated to the lips. In fact, Kirshenbaum theorizes that our earliest kisses were delivered via the nose, the kind of “nuzzle-sniff” popular in Eskimo culture. Nose kisses were used to “recognize and reconnect with relatives and friends and perhaps even provide clues about a person’s health,” she writes.

So when did the kiss move from the nose to the mouth? Well, it seems to be somewhat hardwired, she writes. Human mouths are more “everted,” meaning they stick out further than our ape ancestors. Our red lips are actually the most exposed erogenous zone on our body. But this didn’t happen overnight.

Our ancestors evolved a superior ability to detect the color red, which would give them an advantage in finding ripe fruits when on the lookout for food. This “red equals reward” may have become ingrained, making men more interested in women with redder lips, which would signify a more youthful and fertile mate. Even current studies show that looking at red objects quickens the pulse and makes us feel excited. It’s no wonder women still turn to lipstick, which they have done since ancient Egypt, when women used dyes and strong wines to dye their pouts.

The history of the kiss Here

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