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THE FIRST KISS TELLS ALL

April 2, 2009, 19:17:33
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The first kiss can make or break a relationship. Besides being an emotional experience, kissing tells our primitive brains much about each other. The more different a man's saliva is from the woman's, the stronger the sub-conscious attraction. And research in the animal kingdom is revealing that kissing is not only used for mate-testing, but also for conflict resolution. 

 

Saliva has a "cocktail of chemicals" which reveals fertility and evolutionary fitness. That may be why the first kiss on a date is often the last. US research has found that about 75% of people end a relationship after a bad first kiss. And there is scientific evidence to back up this decision. According to anthropologist Dr. Stephen Juan of Sydney University, there is an evolutionary benefit in having a mate who is really different from yourself. A man and woman with differing immune system qualities would produce children with strong antibodies to fight off infection.

 

Humans operate on sub-conscious, animal-instinct level when they kiss, and over 90% of human societies practice kissing. Male saliva has testosterone in it. And men as a group seem to like wet kisses, with an open mouth and more tongue action. Men also have a poor sense of smell, and by open mouth kissing they are unconsciously trying to pick up traces of a woman's oestrogen cycle, to figure out the degree of her fertility. A woman, meanwhile, takes the opportunity to test the man's saliva for testosterone levels and his immune system so she can pick a mate who will produce healthy children.

 

Up until recently, kissing was considered a purely human practice. But recent evidence clearly shows that the animal kingdom is rich with kissers. Animals seem to know the importance of kissing in mate selection. The "tasting" of one's possible mate is, along with their keen sense of smell, a very important transmitter of information. And animals "kiss and make up."

 

Professor Frans de Waal is professor of psychology and director of Living Links at the Yerkes Primate Centre, Emory University, in Georgia. He claims that kissing is a very important part in the process of repairing social relationships in the animal world. Chimpanzees and bonobos kiss. Foxes lick each other's faces. Birds tap their bills together and elephants put their trunks in one another's mouth. it is a tool for mate assessment. When kissing, it is possible to touch, see, feel, taste another. A huge part of the brain lights up as a result.

 

The Professor, who is an expert in conflict resolution among animals, claims that research studies using primates and non-primates both suggest that such behavior is widespread in the animal kingdom. Chimpanzees, for example, kiss and embrace after fights and there is good evidence that it leads to the repairing of social relationships. So, stop fighting and start kissing!

 

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