I'm sure many researchers took it as no shock that other animals, besides humans kiss. In relation to the Darwin Machine, kissing embodies each of the three functions associated with evolution. Here I will denote the adapting, variation and reproductive needs for kissing. Therefore, it can be safe to say that kissing is essential to the survival of many animals, including mammals. This backs up the theory that kissing came from instinct.
Reasons For the BehaviorEdit
In a scientific study using a monkey, Harry F. Harlow had discovered that baby monkeys depend more on the affection of their mother than food. This can lead to a theory of why most mammals do kissing-like behaviors with their offspring. The notions of affection are crucial to the survival of infant mammals. With this being said, it is possible that kissing is an adaptation. In earlier, simpler organisms such as the hydra, kissing was not seen. However, the hydra did have the main tool that is necessary in kissing, the mouth. Of course, kissing comes in many variations for animals as well. Some canine and feline animals rub noses together. Birds rub beaks together and possibly interlock them. Many animals also lick each other as a sign of endearment which is also known as cleaning in some species. Animals that are enemies will never show this cleaning or “kissing-like” behavior to one another.
Evolution of Kissing in Primates
The most famous of primates that produce these kissing behaviors are known as the Bonobos. These primates live south of the Congo River and are known as extant relatives to humans. Similar to humans, Bonobos and other great apes have the ability of self-awareness, as seen in the mirror test. This idea of being self-aware can lead to great apes having a sort of consciousness. They are aware of who they are, so therefore they can also be aware of their specific groups and mating partners. The Bonobos are peaceful animals and are highly affectionate to each other. They kiss so much that it is almost inevitable to infer that humans gain their kissing abilities through evolution. Bonobos display open mouth kissing, similar to the open mouth kissing in humans. Bonobos kiss in many social situations to display social bonds with one another, just like humans.
After our look of how kissing evolved through animals, let's see where kissing is headed in the future.