Scientists have just discovered the real reason humans fall in love
As much as we like to believe that us human beings are far superior to the other creatures on planet Earth, there's actually a lot of things we have in common with animals.
We're not the only ones to use tools, for instance, as our primate pals and corvid companions are pretty well-skilled when it comes to utilizing materials around them. Language, too, is not a uniquely human characteristic, as some members of the animal kingdom have been taught to sign words, whereas others - such as elephants - have learned to use body language to communicate with one another. And if you think we're the only living creatures that can dream, you're very wrong. All mammals experience REM sleep, and it's believed that most of them are capable of dreaming.
One thing we do seem to be uniquely gifted with, however, is the ability to feel romantic love. But why?
A recent study led by Dr Piotr Sorokowski at the University of Wroclaw in Poland investigated the "biological basis" of love, as the universality of the phenomenon has long been of interest to scientists.
Part of the research involved investigating the behaviors and familial dynamics of the Hadza people of Tanzania, who don't use modern contraception, in order to see whether love has any bearing on reproduction. And the results explained a lot about our evolution.
According to the paper, "commitment and reproductive success were positively and consistently related in both sexes", meaning that couples who loved each other and had a consistently passionate relationship were more likely to have more children.
Now, this may seem obvious, but it's believed that those who did not have this ability to love died out way back along our evolutionary chain, as they would have failed to reproduce. This makes sense when compared to a University College of London study from 2013, which hypothesized that the ability to love prevented male primates from killing their offspring, thus allowing future generations to survive.
The Tanzanian community that the Polish team researched were the perfect sample group for the study, as they have maintained a very consistent way of life over the last 10,000 years, meaning "their lifestyle is in many ways similar to that of our ancestors."
Sorokowski's study continued:
"[This] may shed new light on the meaning of love in humans' evolutionary past, especially in traditional hunter-gatherer societies in which individuals, not their parents, were responsible for partner choice. We suggest that passion and commitment may be the key factors that increase fitness, and therefore, that selection promoted love in human evolution."
Essentially, then, humans developed the ability to fall in love as a survival tactic. Just like hunger, fear, and ambition, love is a sensation that allows and encourages us to keep on living. It's not very romantic when you break it down in such a scientific manner, but just think about it this way: the reason you're existing right now, reading this article, is because a bunch of monkeys learned how great it feels to fancy someone. And that's amazing.