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Why humans are unique when it comes to kissing

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When it comes to kissing there are many important memories that people hold, not least ones first kiss. But did you realise that in the animal kingdom that humans are kind of weird when it comes to being kissers while the majority of mammals do not engage in kissing of any sort.

In fact, it is not even amongst the animal kingdom that we stand out for engaging in kissing for the purposes of romance. Scientists from the University of Nevada have discovered that romantic kissing, defined as romantic–sexual, lip-to-lip contact that may or may not be prolonged, is only a thing among 46% of the cultures sampled in their study.

Among other species, kissing can be observed in our close relatives such as Chimpanzees and Bonobos although it is debatable whether they engage in kissing in a purely romantic sense. However, beyond that it is difficult to find any species on the planet that engage in a bit of smooching.

This research flies in the face of our assumptions in the Western world that kissing is something universal practiced by people all over the globe. Boffins have surmised that the more complex a culture becomes, the more prevalent romantic kissing is among its people.

Philematologists, people who study kissing for a living, have long been curious as to why certain cultures kiss and others avoid it altogether. One popular theory that might explain why it developed among certain cultures is that it started as a means of passing food from a parent's mouth to their infants just as birds nurture their young chicks.

Another plausible theory why us humans kiss comes from a study from the University of Oxford where researchers surmised that kissing in a romantic manner serves as a useful mate-assessment tool. Kissing allows us to get up close and personal with another human being to really see if they are spouse material so it seems Cher had it right all along and the only way to be really sure of a potential partner is to check the chemistry levels during your next kiss!

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