July 22, 2011

Animal and Human Grooming Habits

It has long been noted that grooming is far from simply a necessary practice to maintain health and hygiene, instead being an instinctive activity carried out across the human race and animal kingdom from the very dawn of time. The experience of being groomed or grooming another is highly valued and prized without exception as one of the most social and symbolic gestures of all. Social grooming is something that transcends the barrier between human beings and other species, displayed across millions of other animal groups each and every day. Such grooming is known to build and strengthen bonds, form social structures, maintain family ties and begin new relationships. Some animal species are also known to use grooming as a method for the resolution of conflicts and the spur reconciliation, which is also an extremely common trait in humans.
Animals of all species regularly undergo personal grooming practices so as to maintain a sufficient level of health and hygiene. Such generally involves the systematic removal of dirt, dead skin, parasites and any other foreign bodies that may pose a risk if left unaddressed – which in itself could not be more similar to the practices of humans. Social grooming on the other hand is an entirely different behavioral practice, though essentially is carried out to achieve the same basic purpose.
Of course, the very best examples of social grooming in the animal kingdom lie in the primates, who display complex and intricate practices which have been labeled as nothing less than the cement that holds the social element of the primate world together. Grooming one another builds a level of trust and respect that is critical when it comes to establishing and overall cooperation. Hierarchies are also of paramount importance across the primate world and are again dependant on grooming practices to both establish and maintain. Coalitions are formed by the exchange of grooming, conflicts are resolved by mutual grooming and it has also been noted that grooming is regularly used as a resource to be exchanged for other commodities, such as food and sex. Grooming is also noted to increase during times of boredom, along with at times of tension and high pressure to reduce stress and calm nerves. The relaxing and tranquil elements of grooming are abundantly clear in the primate world, with many often falling asleep during the process.

Many mammal species are also known to take part in social grooming practices, particularly domesticated animals. Dogs and cats will frequently attempt to groom their owners as a sign of affection, further blurring the line between the habits of the two species.

Many other species are known to indulge in similar practices, including bats, birds, insects and even fish, though studying the specifics has proved understandably difficult.

While grooming serves the same basic health and hygiene purposes for humans as it does animals, there have been a number of studies conclusively proving that there is far more to the matter than simple cleanliness alone. For example, it is rather common knowledge that the grooming of a romantic partner is infinitely more common than that of a casual friend, acquaintance or stranger – perhaps even a family member. While bonds may be just as strong with family, the grooming practice is so symbolic in its own right that it is reserved for specific uses, just as in the animal kingdom. Grooming between human beings has long been associated with strong bonds, trust, contentment and a sign that such was the parental practice when being raised as a child.
It is often theorized that those who take an active though entirely subconscious interest in grooming could potentially make better parents to a child, as the grooming practice itself is one of the most clear and key demonstrations of commitment and caring of all. Indeed, to see two people grooming each other in any way shape or form leads to the immediate conclusion that they must be in some way romantically or closely linked, with a long-term relationship being much more likely than anything short-term or shallow.
Grooming is just one of the many thousands of ways in which the links between humans and the animal world can be seen right before our eyes. Furthermore, studying the way in which animals groom for reasons other than the basic purposes of the practice makes it abundantly clear that it is not just humans who are capable of a higher level of thinking – which is food for thought indeed.
This guest article on personal grooming similarities between animals and humans was provided at no charge by one of our leather recliner sofa retailers.

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  1. My dogs prefer to get together with their mates and play poker. They listen to soft jazz, out of choice. Neither of them can play an instrument, though.

  2. Anonymous9:18 AM

    Grooming refers to removing obvious imperfections in one's appearance. When used in reference to animals, it tends to involve their clean one another by combing through the hair and extracting foreign objects such as insects, and leaves, dirt and twigs. When regarding a human it means to primp; washing and cleansing the hair, combing it to extract tangles and snarls, and styling.

  3. Neeraja9:19 AM

    grooming is essential when we are going to be in a social gathering so that we may not look unusual. For different people the meaning of grooming is different, some think that merely bathing and putting deos and keeping a good hairstyle will do, but there are few of them who really think about their actions, gestures and way of speaking as essential parts of grooming.


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