Folks, it has been a really rough time for Sheril–she may or may not tell the full story herself, but suffice it to say that she has been hospitalized for several days and has only recently been allowed to come home, and this unfortunate turn of events has prevented her from attending the AAAS meeting in Chicago, where she was set to headline at the high profile “Science of Kissing” panel on Valentine’s Day.
That’s a very sad missed opportunity; but luckily, Sheril has also done a freelance article for New Scientist about the same subject, which has just come out and which you can read here. A brief excerpt:
As natural as kissing seems, it also means swapping mucus, bacteria and who knows what else, so how and why would such a behaviour evolve?
Science has been seeking answers for decades. Neuroscientists point to the way it unleashes a flood of neurotransmitters and hormones associated with social bonding and sex. Anthropologists explain it as a relic of mouth-to-mouth feeding from mothers to infants. Others have suggested that kissing conveys important information about prospective mates and so evolved as a guide to mate selection. It has even been passed off as a purely cultural phenomenon since some groups refrain from it entirely….
It’s a fairly brief piece, but it marks her move into real science journalism–and that’s something I want to applaud. I hope you’ll join me–and enjoy the article.