“Animals can trump anything that humans do – their courtship behaviour is hugely varied and in some cases quite extreme.
“These performances are necessary because the female’s eggs are a precious and finite resource. The males need to prove they are worthy of fertilising them. So humans can learn a lot from animals.”
Top flirting tips from the worlds of humans and animals1. Make the men do the workMale bower birds build impressive nests with grass and sticks to impress females while birds of paradise are famous for their extravagant courtship displays. Such flamboyant displays are fraught with danger for human males as posturing on the dance floor is often met with derision rather than admiring glances. Displays of wealth such as a nice mobile phone or flash car can work wonders.2. Get a wing manMale manakin birds, found in the American tropics, often take on an apprentice to help them perform their enthusiastic dances and aid in attracting a mate. In the human world, having support from a friend who can help to make you look good is a common and effective technique.3. Get physicalSea horses entwine their tails together and swim together in tandem during their tender courtships while snails caress each other with their tentacles in order to find out if they are suited for each other. For humans getting close to someone can send out a strong signal and touching them briefly on the arm or hand can be a hard signal to miss.4. Shake your tail feathers as oneGrebes perform complex dances where the male and female mimic each others choreography to show they are paying each other undivided attention. Such displays are common among humans too, with the continued popularity of paired sensual dances such as tango. Gyrating badly on the club dance floor with a partner is unlikely to result in success. Mirroring the tone of someone’s voice and their actions can also be a strong flirting signal.5. Get close, but don’t touchEmperor penguins stand face to face with their head and neck extended upwards in one of the more tender moments in the animal kingdom. For humans moving close to someone but not touching them can be a major tool in flirting.6. Give giftsMany species exchange gifts to attract a female. Among penguins it is common for males to collect pebbles to give to females while magpies collect shiny and brightly coloured objects to impress their females. Among humans there are few women who will not go a bit weak at the knees when given a bunch of flowers but buying a simple drink is a good start. Be warned, however, that presenting her with pebbles may not go down so well.7. Throw some glancesEye contact is probably one of the most important aspects of social interaction among humans, particularly when it comes to flirting. Studies have shown that even when strangers look each other in the eyes while talking they like each other more than if they did not make eye contact. Among animals, eye contact is often seen as a threat. Baboons, however, stare at each other during courtship.8. Give off the right odoursIn pigs, females on heat produce a scent that makes the male foam at the mouth. The hormones in his saliva in turn make her more reciprocal to him. Moths also use chemicals called pheromones to find their mates and male Emperor moths can sniff out females from several miles. Studies also show the smell of human sweat indicates an ideal partner because it can show how similar your immune systems are.9. Look after your appearanceBirds will often pick at their feathers and flick their wings as a way of attracting the attentions of the opposite sex. Scarlett Macaws will preen themselves and even each other during courtship. Human females will often plays with their hair, licks their lips and adjust their clothing while men will pull in their stomachs, expand their chests and straighten their clothes.10. Use body languageFemale gazelles take up characteristic body poses to signal that they are ready to start mating while flamingos perform salutes with their wings. In crocodiles, females arch their tail out of the water if she is interested in a courting male. Among humans pointing your toes at them shows you are giving them your complete attention rather than looking for an opportunity to escape.