Accounts of animals "mating for life" are usually romanticized and exaggerated. In fact, very few mammals choose a single mate to stick with through thick and thin, and even those that do, such as gibbons, are likely to cheat on or leave their partner. Though birds are often upheld as paragons of monogamy, they shatter the illusion of faithfulness if scrutinized. "Adultery" is rampant among many bird species, as it ensures both genetic variety and more widespread dissemination of an individual's genes.
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Key Facts In This Video
Only about 3% of mammals are monogamous. 00:06
For birds, pairing up is advantageous so that both parents can care for the young. 01:02
One truly monogamous species is Diplozoon paradoxum. 02:29