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article imageStudy: Smarter bower birds get more chicks

By John Louie S. Ramos     Aug 22, 2009 in Science
The University of Maryland, College Park recently released a study showing links that correlates problem-solving capability and reproductive success, primarily in birds.
According to the study, which claims to be the first ever study to show such link, smarter male birds has a greater chance to attract their female counterparts.
In the experiment, the researcher observed the behavior of 31 Australian bowerbird during mating season. Bower birds build a nest/bower to attract females thus the ones who had created the most unique and most eye-pleasing bower wins the female bird's affection.
The male bowers decorate it with shiny bits of glass and blue-colored objects. They prefer blue because of its rarity in natural setting. The researchers then put red-colored objects (bowers have a common dislike for red) at the birds' bower.
The smarter birds had minimal time in removing and/or hiding the red objects while the not-so smart ones took so much time to solve the problem at hand. A few others on the other hand couldn't do it at all.
During the breeding season it was revealed that the smarter ones, who had less time solving the red object dilemma, averaged twice as many copulations as the not-so competent bower birds.
Carlos Botero, a behavioral ecologist at the National Evolutionary Synthesis Center in Durham, North Carolina commented on the study saying;
"This is a really nice observation," he says, although "at this point, we don't know why this correlation exists"--that is, whether females really are selecting mates on the basis of intelligence or on something such as a sexy dance that is not related to g.
The ScienceNOW Daily News reports.
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