hey! I was reading DISCOVER magazine, december issue I think, and they were explaining how humans were actually the only known species to kiss when they showed feelings from one another… and that the only other species that somehow had a similar behavior were apes but they kissed only as excitement and they did not used tongue, it was just a pressed kiss… so are we the only animals that kiss passionately in order to show feelings such as love or are there other animals that also do such a thing? Thanks!
It’s a terrific question and I’m glad you brought up that DISCOVER piece because I wrote it.
When it comes to describing similar behaviors across the animal kingdom, scientists have to be very careful. We cannot assume that other species experience the same emotions as we do. So instead of words like “love,” behaviorists use phrases like “mate choice” or “selective proceptivity.”
In Chapter 2 of The Science of Kissing, I go into detail describing how “kissing-like behaviors” can serve a variety of purposes from affection to feeding to conflict depending on the species and individuals involved. More in the book…