back to article Aussie birds 'desperate to copulate with brainy males'

Top-level boffins, having carried out extensive surreptitious surveillance of Australian females copulating with their chosen sexual companions, have stated that most down-under birds in their test group would prefer a brainy partner. The Aussie birds in question are not the distaff human populace, but rather a group of " …

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Surprising conclusion....

Using a factor that drastically influences the attractiveness of the male as a intelligence test is a bad idea, shirley... It's akin to embedding the males in concrete and coming up with "females specifically look for the males that are intelligent enough to get rid of 3 kg of concrete". Or you could just kill them. Females specifically look for the males which are intelligent enough to resurect!

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sounds like making the evidence fit the result

Q: How can we spin this so that it seems like these birds are attracted to intelligent males?

A: find out what the most successful males do better and call that intelligence.

Whereas in fact, the females are simply being turned off by "naff" red objects in the males' bowers. This sounds to me like taste / fashion / fadishness, rather than anything deeper. If that's so, then it sounds like Aussie birds are being turned on or off by the same traits that turn on (or off) other birds of all nationalities and species: namely they are attracted to males who show some amount of style, or even (perish the thought) fashion-sense.

There is one telling phrase in the report:

The best problem-solvers scored the most copulations,

Again, when the problem is "how do I score the most copulations?" this would seem to mark a success. However if the problem was "how do I get the high score in my video game?" then those birds probably wouldn't get it off very often - but might have equally satisfactory lives, based on their own measures of success. provided you don't mind the high-scorers forming a dead line in the evolutionary tree.

Maybe that was the dinosaurs' problem: great at gaming, crap at procreating.

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Duff science.

Right, so knowing the optimum conditions for sexual success, they interfered with the natural conditions. In their artificial environment, only the cleverest could achieve the optimal conditions. This doesn't say anything about the inherent brain-factor in mate choice.

What they need to do is revisit next year and determine if the same birds that managed to repair the bowers to optimal or near-optimal f*nny magnet status do well when some irritating snotty student doesn't go depimping their rides on them.

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Unhappy

Wallaby Creek?

That's next to West Wallaby St., surely?

I think they're misinterpreting the birds I bet: given half a chance, they would prefer the bowers in basic white, preferably done with a roller (the way all non-gay males would do the sistine chapel) --- but there are no roller birds there (they're limited to northern australia).

/unhappy face for lack of Gromit icon.

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Coat

Intentionally misleading headline?

You've got airline stock you're trying to pump up, right?

Mine's the one with the hastily acquired non-refundable ticket in the pocket.

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Thumb Up

It's obvious really....

"..it's hard to tell "whether [Australian] females really are selecting mates on the basis of intelligence or on something such as a sexy dance".

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9Wl_uQOABxg

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hoF_fa9TMDk

QED

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Paris Hilton

nt

" "it's hard to tell "whether [Australian] females really are selecting mates on the basis of intelligence or on something such as a sexy dance" "

I'm the first to admit that I'm not to bright, but my girlfriend really gets off when I do a Chippendale's dance for her.

<accent type='antonio_banderas'>Listen, it is the forbidden dance</accent>

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Happy

I'll change my lies

So instead of claiming to be a 25-year-old professional surfer in chatrooms, I'll have to invent a degree in accountancy. Ah well...

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The really intelligent ones...

Would just start a new fashion trend: red is the new brown.

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Grenade

Aww geez...

Get my hopes up then dash them will you!

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At spring break...

The guys at the beach build "bowers" for the same reason, to attract sex partners.

humbly submitted http://bikinibreak.com/CHRON/2000/03/19/images/BikiniBreak-Lake_Havasu_Spring_Break-2000-03-19-800X-dsc01002.jpg

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Joke

The only colour

that Australian (human) females are interested in is the colour of money :-)

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RE: sounds like making the evidence fit the result

>> Q: How can we spin this so that it seems like these birds are attracted to intelligent males?

>> A: find out what the most successful males do better and call that intelligence.

I can't think of a better definition of intelligence for a bird. Being able to consistantly womble for the best bits of tat is can be considered skill or intelligence. Perhapsit is more 'emotional intelligence' than regular intelligence. What would you suggest? Getting them all to write thesis.

Having said that, I remember hearing on Radio 4 that male bower birds will steal from each other and damage each other's bowers. So from that you might conclude that the females go for the mean mails that destroy steal from their neighbours bowers - and the stronger/more vicious males that are better able to protect their bowers. You might also call thieving and destruction intelligence, using the above metric.

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Anonymous Coward

Just as well

...this was referring to the Bower birds as if it were in relation to the human populace there'd be nay shaggin' going on as your average male Aussie is an intellectual bottom-feeder.

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down under

I'll have to go down under then to see the mapatasi (q.v)

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Anthropology rather than ornithology

Not for the first time, I think that it would be more interesting to study the researchers. Does conducting this research lead to greater reproductive success among the researchers?

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