Scientists improve avian self-esteem

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Scientists improve avian self-esteem




Using a $5.99 marker, scientists darkened the rust-coloured breast feathers of male New Jersey barn swallows, turning lighter birds to the level of those naturally darkest.

They had already found, in a test three years ago, that the marked-up males were more attractive to females and mated more often.

This time they found out that the more attractive appearance, at least in the bird world, triggered changes to the animals' body chemistry, increasing testosterone.

“Other females might be looking at them as being a little more sexy, and the birds might be feeling better about themselves in response to that,” said study co-author Kevin McGraw, an evolutionary biology professor at Arizona State University.

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martin dufresne

Mmm... think of the money some men could save on penile extension pumps, red sports cars, obnoxious cologne...

Erstwhile Erstwhile's picture

I can't swallow this. Sparrow me the details - this is nothing to crow about. Instead dove raven about how they've made birds more aggressive - a project that seems to lark any moral value and consistently ducks the bigger issues - why not chicken to how to make birds more cooperative - or do these corporate-backed scientists quail at the notion of birds with both a right AND a left wing?!