Froggy went a courtin’ – Diane Ackerman

This was certainly an entertaining lecture and Ackerman really has a way with words. The courtship rituals she spoke of was pretty familiar; typical animal dances, songs, or other type of ritual to attract a mate. The Darwinian perspective is that fitness is defined by reproduction and these rituals essentially are for that purpose. I thought it was interesting because humans usually separate ourselves from other animals because we are capable of things such as love and we are just so much more sophisticated. A guy in the audience even asked Ackerman if she thought that animals had the thought in mind because we certainly don’t. Through her lecture, she made all these comparisons to the human equivalence of mating rituals. It really put things into perspective that we are not much different.  Although, the male is usually conducting this ritual to attract a female it is not always the case with humans. Girls do not always do the choosing despite the idea of being a gentlemen. In fact in India, it is a man who chooses a favorable family.   Essentially, the things we look for in a significant other is health, wealth, and protection. All the comparisons she makes were enjoyable and many humorous. One example she made was with the Bauer bird who shows off a collection of his stuff to a female. The human equivalent is a big wallet. The female gray tree frogs choose their mate depending on how loud they can sing. This translates to strong lungs and potentially strong offspring. With us, singing is definitely an attractive trait but the idea of strong lungs does not typically cross our mind. It’s nice to think that those singing traits will however be passed down.  Overall, we do have these tendencies that seem really similar to other animals and as she mentions is “hard wiring”. But she also says that humans do not play by nature rules and because of this the pursuit of love and romanticism is very much alive in us.

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