Ever wonder why there are so many cougars around these days, or so many older men dating younger women?
It’s not just because of a physical attraction. In fact, attraction in humans and in fruit flies relates to pheromones, or “the chemicals of love.” In the recent Biology News article “Fruit Flies Drawn to the Sweet Smell of Youth,” I learned that cuticular hydrocarbons,which are the pheromones of fruit flies, change with age. In an experiment run by Tsung-Han Kuo, a ” a graduate student in the department of molecular and human genetics and the Huffington Center on Aging at BCM,” it was obvious that the male fruit fly was attracted much more to the young female fruit fly than the older female fruit fly. This was even true when the male fruit fly could not see the flies because the scientist had made the room dark. Interestingly enough, all it took for the male fruit fly to be confused about which woman to choose was to wipe the pheromones, or rather the cuticular hydrocarbons, off the bodies of the female fruit flies. When this occurred, the male fruit fly was rather ambivalent and flummoxed with the decision over which fly to choose to mate with. This tells us that pheromonesmake all the difference, an
most significantly to this article, they spark fly attraction. I believe that this pheromone attraction could be the true reason why many individuals stray from their significant others to find “hotter” and “sexier” partners.
To sum all this up, based on our experiments in class, we know that fruit flies produce massive numbers of children, and as these female fruit flies age, the male fruit flies that they have mated with in the past are vastly less interested and attracted to the aging female pheromone.
I had once heard about a study that tried to determine weather or not physical attractiveness was related to pheromones. According to http://serendip.brynmawr.edu/exchange/node/2052, 16 males and 19 females were asked to wear a t-shirt for 3 days straight without washing than randomly exchanged shirts and rate each other’s odors based on pleasantness and sexiness. This study found an interesting correlation, that there was a correlation between facial attractiveness and sexiness of body odor of males when females were in “their most fertile phase of menstrual cycle”.