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Video: Quick Feet Impress Females

19 April 2011 7:01 pm
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Credit: Barney Schlinger, UCLA

If you want to impress your date, take her swing dancing, not ballroom dancing. At least, that's good advice if you're a manakin. During courtship displays, males of the small tropical bird species have a significant mating advantage over their counterparts if they dance with quick feet, researchers report online today in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B. By watching high-speed videos of the manakin mating dance, the team found that birds who danced even tens of milliseconds faster than others were the best at charming the females. Highly acrobatic moves such as backflips also seemed to be impressive. The researchers recorded the males' heart rates and found for the first time that males whose hearts raced during courtship were more successful lovers. Females, the researchers say, likely see the males' high energy, cardio capacity, and slick motor skills as good traits in a father and good genes for offspring.

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