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Mares Love Deep-Voiced Whinnys

Mar 13, 2015 05:34 PM EDT
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If Barry White were a horse, he'd be the stallion with ALL the mares he could handle. New research has revealed that while mares want their stallion strong, they likewise value a deep-throated whinny, and scientists think they know why.

A study recently published in the journal PLOS One details how deep-voiced horses wind up heading a traditional team's harem far more often than not - meaning that they wind up siring the majority of the next generation.

Interestingly, past research has near-concluded that mares looking for a sire select their mate based off physical strength and size than anything else. So why should the tone of a stallion's whinny matter?

"Female choice of harem often occurs from afar, where sound is the most effective form of communication for a first encounter," Alban Lemasson, the University of Rennes 1 researcher who led the study, recently explained to New Scientist.

In this way, the verbal 'booty calls' of a stallion may very well be important in horse sexual selection.

Lemasson and his colleagues had previously shown that a low-pitched whinny among male horses is directly related to size and even reproduced prowess, finding that " the lower-pitched the stallion's voice, the slower his heart beat and the higher his fertility."

A slower heart rate and more physically fit physique also would allow a stallion to live longer, siring more foals in his lifetime through a large harem.

"Hence, females are attracted by frequencies encoding for large male size, calmness and high fertility," the researchers concluded in their work.

Lemasson added in his interview with New Scientist that this knowledge could help horse breeders select the best studs to keep mare excited and productive, allowing them to make decisions "based on sound, rather than costly sperm tests."

For more great nature science stories and general news, please visit our sister site, Headlines and Global News (HNGN).

- follow Brian on Twitter @BS_ButNoBS\

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