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The Evolution of Kissing

  1. Jun 2, 2007 #1
    I have read before that grooming a mate evolved among the apes as a means of showing affection. All of the great apes existing today (with the exception of humans) include eating insects off of each other as part of grooming ritual. I wonder if kissing is the homo-sapien substitute for eating bugs off of a mate.

    It could be the case that the early ancestors of modern humans felt comfort from having their mates nibble potential parasites of their bodies. Perhaps the act of making gentle mouth actions on another's body gradually became associated with care and love. Perhaps this association, no longer needing the ultilitarian purpose of removing parasites, evolved into modern mouth-to-mouth kissing.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jun 2, 2007 #2

    jim mcnamara

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    Staff: Mentor

    Kissing is not a universal human behavior, although with TV Westernizing the world, it may have become. Make that: in 1960 it was not universal.
  4. Jun 2, 2007 #3
    If it is not universal, then name a civilization that did not practice kissing.
  5. Jun 2, 2007 #4


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    Sounds reasonable.
  6. Jun 3, 2007 #5
    does anyone know what the first known depiction of a kiss is? (like in painting or poetry). I wonder how old kissing is or if it's always been a part of human behavior in one way or another.

    your idea is really interesting. It makes a lot of sense. Primates spend hours doing that.

    I think it's interesting that kissing is the ultimate demonstration of affection. Even more so than sex— sex without kissing would probably feel much more impersonal and un-intimate than kissing without sex. I can't imagine sex without kissing being too thrilling.

    trust is another point of it: kissing is a very big show of trust; it's making direct contact with the mouth, without the threat of biting/harming the other individual. An animal has to be very trusting of another animal to allow it to put its mouth on him or bite him playfully... many other animals also bite during sex or play come to think of it (male cats bite the female's neck during sex, dogs bite when they play... some humans :biggrin:).
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2007
  7. Jun 3, 2007 #6
    You guys sure it didn't have something to do with stealing food from primates' mouths? That's what I used to do with an ex. :wink:
  8. Jun 3, 2007 #7
    haha, did they have gum back then?

    ... I hope you were referring to gum. when it comes to stealing food during a kiss, here's a handy guide:

    - gum
    - alcoholic beverage other than beer
    - fruit (like strawberries)
    - spaghetti (provided it has not yet entered mouth)
    - chocolate
    - candy

    - salad
    - beer
    - peanut-butter and jam sandwich
    - nachos
    - cheese
    - any meat or dairy product

    Last edited: Jun 3, 2007
  9. Jun 3, 2007 #8
    I cannot agree with gum, spaghetti, or chocolate. Strawberries, champagne and vodka are fine by me.

    I would be grossed out by chocolate covered strawberries though. I would be grossed out by anything containing meat (especially fish), bread or dairy products.

    Candy would also be fine... as long as it's not a butterscotch or anything chocolate.

    Then again, if the girl is hot enough... I'd do whatever she asked.
  10. Jun 3, 2007 #9
    no spaghetti like in "lady and the tramp"? come on!

    :rofl: yep. that seems to be the general consensus.
  11. Jun 19, 2007 #10
    kissing, from one TV show I remember, said came from mothers pre-chewing food for their babies, like birds do, before Gerber came around (^_^)
  12. Jun 27, 2007 #11


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    Vodka? ew.

    If that was true that would be really interesting :smile:
  13. Jul 12, 2007 #12


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    Trust is an important point in it. You're trusting that the person kissing you will vomit food into your mouth instead of biting or stealing food from your mouth - unless the intent of the kiss is to share your food with them.

    Or, to put it more politely (as jiohdi did), it most likely originates from mothers pre-chewing food and carrying it back to their babies.
  14. Jul 12, 2007 #13


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    I had heard somewhere that it came about from men checking their wives to see if they had been into the spirits while they were away.
  15. Jul 14, 2007 #14

    Chimps do kiss and hug, and that behavior could possibly have evolved from grooming, though I've never heard about it's evolution.
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