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While humans are vastly superior in terms of intelligence to the other creatures of planet Earth, our roots are still very much entwined.

Take for instance the art of attracting a mate. In this day and age, you can’t just walk up to a member of the opposite sex and say, “We’re getting married.” The same thing can be said for members of the animal kingdom.

Instead, we both have to undergo the ritual of courting. And when it comes to performing this ritual, humans and animals aren’t all that different. Check out these similarities that humans and animals share when it comes to attracting a mate.

1. Peacocking to Attract a Mate

A man “peacocking” for a woman…. And studies say it works! Read on to see how.

A man "peacocking" for a woman

A peacock “peacocking” to improve his chances of mating with peahen.

A peacock "peacocking" his feathers for a peahen

Source: http://journeysofacrazyperson.wordpress.com/2012/08/27/day-1-darwin-to-mataranka/

When the male peacock comes across a female he wants to woo, he will attempt to captivate the female “peahen” with a brilliant display of his ornamental feathers. He will fan them out as wide as he can, arch them forward, and approach the female.

The term “peacocking” has recently gained notoriety in the human world, referring to a male “flaunting his feathers” by wearing flashy clothing and accessories, and acting in an attention grabbing manner in order to make that great first impression.

In fact, studies have shown that people who wear more daring clothing are viewed as more “attractive.” Additionally, research shows that humans subconsciously use clothing as a form of communication to indicate social status, situation and role.

2. Holding Hands

Humans often hold hands as a show of affection.

A couple holding each other's hands

It is common for the African elephant to touch and hold trunks with their mates and calves.

Elephants Holding Hands

Source: http://www.fotocommunity.de/pc/pc/channel/2/extra/new/display/13645154

One of the most basic public displays of affections is also one of the most meaningful: two people holding hands.

When we hold hands, we’re not only conveying our social bond in a physical manner, but we’re also telling our significant other than we want to be close to them.

Funny enough, this sentiment is not exclusive to human beings. African elephants also know the importance of physical touch. While elephants don’t have hands in the traditional sense, they do have trunks that they reach out to each other with and entwine in a manner much like we do with our clasped fingers.

3. Wedding Rings

Woman accept engagement rings as a marriage proposal

Woman accepting a ring as a marriage proposal

Adelie and Gentoo penguins give their mate stones as a token of love.

gentoo penguin giving stone as token of love

Source: http://www.o-prirode.com/news/2011-03-10-148

Wedding rings, the never-ending circular symbols of everlasting love and commitment. Our ceremony of males dropping to one knee and proposing with a ring adorned with a precious stone is one of the hallmarks of Western society’s courtship process.

There’s another creature out there that partakes in a similar ceremony.

Adelie and Gentoo Penguins live in small nests of stones. When a male Adelie or Gentoo penguin wants to court a female, he begins to sift through stones that his personal nest is composed of. After he finds the smoothest and presumably the most beautiful, he picks it up with his beak, waddles to his female’s nest, and offers it to her. If she accepts his gift, it’s placed on her nest and the two become mates.

While a smooth nest stone isn’t as precious as some of the stones found on many human wedding rings, it’s the thought that counts. And it’s a thought shared by both humans and penguins alike!

4. Impressing with a Clean Home

Man vacuums his house in preparation for a date.

Man vacuuming in preparation for a date

A bower bird spends years (yes years) organizing and brightly decorating his nest to attract a mate.

bower bird in adorned nest

Source: http://wanderingcanvas.net/home/?gallery=west-papua

Hey guys. Imagine your date is coming over to your home for the first time. What do you do?

If you’re at all serious about winning her over, you’ll clean up. You’ll try to impress your lady with a clean home because you know tidiness and organization are attractive to your female counterparts.

Interestingly, we’re not the only species that has to overcome this obstacle. But we may be the only ones who struggle with it.

Bowerbirds have taken this courting ritual and perfected it. The male bowerbird doesn’t start turning his bachelor pad into an impressive meeting place on the day of his mate’s pending arrival. No, he spends years — actual years — meticulously building and organizing his nest to be absolutely perfect for his future mate.

Each bowerbird has their own unique style and interests, so during the course of their life, they carefully collect different materials to add to their nests. Anything from flowers, berries, leaves, bark, twigs, and stones to beads, cloth, and plastic, bowerbirds search far and wide for the right colors, textures, and mediums that will be used to ultimately impress the lady bowerbirds.

If anything, human beings are the ones lacking in this department. Take a note from the bowerbird: don’t fake the tidiness. Make it a habit.

5. Hugging

Humans hug as a form of affection.

A young couple hugging

Polar bear couples often hug during courtship while at play and rest.

polar bears hugging

Source: http://www.imgion.com/images/01/Bear-Hug-.jpg

When we hug, our hearts are pressed together in an intimate display of affection. We embrace one another, tightly pulling each other close. Hugging is one of the most basic, well-known, and prevalent forms of conveying your love to another. It should come as no shock then that humans are not the only ones to do it.

Bears are often witnessed hugging one another. While a hug between these strong mammals is not necessarily a courting ritual, it is believed to be used as a sign of affection. Kind of lends more credence to the term “bear hug.”

6. Sharing a Good Meal

A common form of human courtship are dinner dates.

A man and woman enjoying dinner

Many bird species retrieve and share food with their prospective mates.

two birds sharing food

Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Cardinalis_cardinalis_in_Cercis_canadensis.jpg

“The way to a mate’s heart is through their stomach”

For many, those ten words are some of truest ever spoken. Fixing up a good meal is one of the oldest and effective means of winning a mate’s heart.

While others in the animal kingdom have yet to adopt the art of “cooking,” they’re no stranger to the sanctity of sharing food with others in the name of romance.

There are many bird species that actively participate in retrieving and sharing food with a prospective mate. This gift of food is given in hopes of earning their significant other’s affection. After all, don’t those who eat together stay together?

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Have you noticed any other similarities between us and animals?
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