Monogamy Helps Geese Reduce Stress
With monogamy so uncommon in the animal world, the idea of lifetime fidelity can seem a little strange, at least to evolutionary biologists.
But in greylag geese, which can live for 20 years and share them with just one mate, biologists have found a benefit: stress reduction. During fights, males with mates have lower heart rates than their single brethren. If their partners are nearby, they’re even more relaxed.
“It seems to be one advantage of monogamy: If you have a long-term relationship, that helps you cope with stress. It’s a good thing to do compared to systems where you always have to find a new partner and have no support in such situations,” said Claudia Wascher, an ethologist at Austria’s Konrad Lorenz Research Station.