- In places where climatic conditions change a lot, birds are more likely to cheat on and divorce their mates.
- If climate becomes more variable, birds might cheat more.
- Environmental uncertainty might explain why some people cheat.
When climate is shifty and unpredictable, birds are more likely to sleep around.
The findings, which suggest that birds may seek out diverse genes for their offspring when they are unsure what the future will hold, might help predict what will happen as climate changes in the coming decades. If weather conditions become more variable in certain places, as some models predict, birds might adapt by becoming more unfaithful. And that's not necessarily a bad thing.
"The overall message of the paper is that there is a lot of hope because females can still employ all of these mechanisms they use to find the best partner available," said Carlos Botero, an evolutionary ecologist at North Carolina State University in Raleigh.
The research could also offer insight into why people sometimes stray from their mates.