WHAT PRICE ROMANCE?
It comes as a shock to learn from Britain that the lower animals do not fight over mates but only over territory and social status. Adolf Portmann, in a book entitled Animals as Social Beings, explodes the romance theory. Reptiles, insects, fishes, crabs and birds, he writes, value their home turf and will fight bitterly to keep it from marauders. Take the robin. For part of each year the cock robin stakes his claim to a small part of a garden, and the hen robin has her little area. During the breeding season they merge in a community-property arrangement, as in California.
If another cock robin comes into this engagement ring he's apt to have his block knocked off by the master, while the female looks on admiringly. Because he is defending his own territory, the husband usually wins, and his mate stays with him. But he wasn't fighting for her in the first place, Portmann points out. She is already his and will stick with him, win or lose.
We admire Mr. Portmann's scientific skill in discovering these facts, but we wonder if he realizes he has taken a lot of the zing out of bird watching.
A METHOD OF GETTING EVEN
Sammy Millbanks, a 29-year-old jockey currently riding in England, last week continued serenely on with his record of 150 consecutive losers. "Unlucky?" he said. "Not a bit. I am lucky, really, because I don't let a thing like this worry me. I get paid just the same and I take everything as it comes."
For jockey-system players, however, things are not coming easily. Under the popular system of betting on jockeys wherein the $2 bettor keeps doubling his bets until the jockey finally wins, Millbanks' backers this week must step right up to the mutuel wickets and plunk down roughly one quattuordecillion, 430 tredecillion dollars, or $1,430,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000.