You have to kiss a lot of frogs…
before you find Prince Charming.
Female frogs choose males whose trills show that they can multitask. The male mating calls are actually a string of short “pulses,” from 20-40 pulses per call, according to a summary on Science Daily online. Mating calls are emitted at the rate of 5-15 calls per minute.
Sort of like texting with a voice.
Here’s what happens that female frogs like: They like males whose calls are both longer and more frequent than their froggie competitors. The males tend to choose to call either with more frequency or with longer strings of trill pulses, so doing both is a premium for potential mating.
The preference has deeper roots, though, than just enjoying what amounts to a long conversation at frequent intervals, which—who knows—might be the human counterpart in courting rituals.
Postdoctoral researcher Jessica Ward, leading this study in the College of Biological Sciences’ Department of Ecology’ laboratory, was quoted as saying that the male ability to call often and for longer lengths of time is like "singing and dancing at the same time.”
Male frogs who multitask are thought to be quality mates by their female counterparts. Mark Bee, a professor in charge of the laboratory, is especially interested in the way that the female frogs differentiate the mass of mating calls they naturally hear. He notes that human beings often lose the ability to do so efficiently when there are so many sounds around us, sometimes called the “cocktail party” problem.
Ward went on to say that "It's easy to imagine that we humans might also prefer multitasking partners, such as someone who can successfully earn a good income, cook dinner, manage the finances and get the kids to soccer practice on time."
Linda Chalmer Zemel teaches in the Communication Department at SUNY Buffalo State College. She has presented workshops on dreamwork at The Learning Annex in New York City and in Toronto.
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Contact Linda at email@example.com