The authors took a different tactic and pointed out that most of us don’t marry the first person we have a crush on, or even the second or third.
Sometimes we marry the tenth person we really like, sometimes we settle for people we only like a little, and sometimes we get drunk, have sex in a cheap motel, and have the person’s parent threaten us with a shotgun unless we go to the chapel right now.
Since study after study shows genes having unexpectedly big effects on behavior, and early childhood experiences with parents having unexpectedly small effects, maybe this would be a better explanation for the effect (if it even exists). Goose-ologist Konrad Lorenz raised goslings from birth.
So okay, I guess this issue is solved, it’s definitely just sexual imprinting on the opposite-sex parent, thank goodness, for once we have a perfectly clear noncontradictory result and we can all just go home and – We also tested for evidence of sexual imprinting, where individuals acquire mate-choice criteria during development by using their opposite-sex parent as the template of a desirable mate; there was no such effect for any trait. Okay, fine, let’s look at this a little more closely.Then they put them in cages with both female zebra finches and female Bengalese finches and observed which females the birds tried to court.The results were pretty striking; they overwhelmingly went for the Bengalese finches who looked like their mothers, not the zebra finches who were genetically more suitable.Spence & Smith replicated this finding with zebra fish raised by differently-colored zebra fish.So the research shows conclusively that sexual selection is based on learned imprinting, at least in animals whose names start with the string “zebra fi*”. I can’t find the study itself, but multiple reviews cite Jedlicka 1984, who looked at children of mixed-race couples (white and native Hawaiian).