Dec 20, 2016

Kiss and Tell

In Tuesday’s post we learned that the act of kissing, or at least something resembling kissing, is not exclusive to the human species. I found it interesting that the majority of examples we have seem to come from mammals, perhaps indicating an evolutionary root to the propensity of this peculiar behavior. Certainly beaks would make kissing among birds difficult if not dangerous (though lovebirds do it). What about animals with soft, lovable lips, such as fish and frogs?

These guys make anthropomorphizing too easy.

Regardless of the meaning behind kissing in other species, there are few, if any, clearer ways for humans to show affection than by placing one’s mouth upon another’s. So closely is kissing tied to romance and love that we can hardly imagine the expression of either without a smooch. We long for the intimacy and closeness that kissing brings, almost as if the laying on of lips was rooted in our very nature, written into our genetic blueprint as a most basic instinct. It seems to be in our bones, so to speak.

Given the social importance of a kiss, it might come as a surprise to learn that kisses are not a universal convention among the world’s population. Though most of the modern world now subscribes, many cultures had no place for mouth-to-mouth


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Memories for Tomorrow: The Past, the Future, and the Brain

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