Kissing is often considered an exclusively human act, however, two sea turtles have been recorded kissing in Hawaiian waters
One of the most famous Latin songs of the 20th century is ‘Bésame mucho’, composed by the Mexican Consuelito Vázquez and even covered by the Beatles and other artists. This says a lot about our culture, and we need to express our affection through a kiss, and if we add a melody creates the perfect mix.
Does the kiss exist in other species? In the animal kingdom, different displays of affection have been observed between couples and, although the romanticization of the kiss is a product of Western society, there are some who do not consider it a romantic gesture. A study analyzed 168 cultures and romantic-sexual kisses only appeared in 46% of them. That is, only 77 considered it romantic to put their lips together.
Pheromones and communication
The sociologist at the University of Oxford, Rafael Wlodarski , defended the theory that the kiss originated as a way of approaching another person to detect their pheromones, although it is difficult to establish the exact moment in the history.
The pheromones are chemical substances secreted by living beings, capable of causing specific behaviors in other individuals of the same species. They are key to finding a mate in the animal world and are recognized through smell.
For Frans de Waal , a Dutch researcher expert in primatology, the kiss between chimpanzees is a way to reconcile after having had a conflict, and it is more common in males than in females because they are more aggressive, according to the researcher. The act of kissing for them is not a romantic behavior as we are used to.
Waal said it is different for bonobos . They kiss often and even use their tongues because animals are very sexual and use sex as a form of communication.
Surely we all remember the spaghetti kiss scene from the movie ‘Lady and the Tramp’. Dogs also express their love, but with a tongue. This time, the kisses are licks each other and towards humans. They release oxytocin when they interact with us and with other dogs. Thanks to oxytocin, the bonds between parents and children, friends and also romantic interests are consolidated, according to another study from the University of Tokyo .
New discovery of sea turtles
What about reptiles like turtles? A new investigation reveals that they join their beaks affectionately.
Some recordings made by Don McLeish and a team of researchers from Arizona State University, in the United States, showed how two sea turtles brought their heads together and brushed them gently for several minutes. This fact was described as a kiss because it is similar to how cats rub their head against their analog or against a human in an affectionate way.
This was not known until now because sea turtles often avoid humans. This research was conducted in Hawaii because sea turtles of the archipelago no longer afraid of people. In addition, there the sea water is crystal clear and facilitated observation.
The finding changes the view of the sea turtles , although there are still quite a few unknowns pending. For example, if this behavior varies between other species of turtles.
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