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Word Count: 901
REPRODUCTION A-Courting to NatureFor some time she had watched his movements appearing coyly in hishaunts And now had it paid off Doubtless he was in love Hismuscles were taut he swooped through the air more like an eaglethan a Greylag gander The only problem was it was not for her thathe then landed in a flurry of quacks and wingbeats or for her that hedashed off surprise attacks on his fellows It was rather foranother - for her preening rival across the Bavarian lake Poor goose Will she mate with the gander of her dreams Or willshe trail him for years laying infertile egg clutches as proof of herfaithfulness Either outcome is possible in an animal worldmarked daily by scenes of courtship spurning and love triumphantAnd take note these are not the imaginings of some Disney screen-16writer Decades ago Konrad Lorenz a famed Austrian naturalistmade detailed studies of Greylags and afterwards showed nohesitation in using words like love grief and even embarrassment todescribe the behavior of these large social birds At the same time he did not forget that all romance - animal andhuman - is tied intimately to natural selection Natural selectionbrought on the evolution of males and females during prehistoricepochs when environmental change was making life difficult forsingle-sex species such as bacteria and algae Generally thesereproduced by splitting into identical copies of themselves Newgenerations were thus no better than old ones at surviving in analtered world With the emergence of the sexes howeveryoungsters acquired the qualities of two parents This meant thatthey were different from both - different and perhaps better atcoping with tough problems of survival At the same time naturehad to furnish a new set of instincts which would make parentsout of such unreflective entities as mollusks and jellyfish The peacocks splendid feathers the fireflys flash the humpbackwhales resounding bellow - all are means these animals haveevolved to obey natures command Find a mate Transmit yourcharacteristics through time
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