Sexual reproduction is one of the two major ways, along with asexual reproduction, that plants and animals create offspring and thus propagate the species. Critical to sexual reproduction is the process of fertilization, whereby the male and female sex cells fuse, or bond. Fertilization may be of two types, either internal or external, and though humans normally fertilize by the first of those means, they may use the second, in the form of in vitro fertilization. Humans, of course, have by far the most complicated reproductive process, inasmuch as it is surrounded by a vast societal, interpersonal, and moral framework that is not a factor in animal reproduction. Part of that framework is the activity that precedes sexual reproduction: attraction, courtship, and so forth. Although no other animal's courtship rituals rival those of humans for sophistication, some of them are quite impressive in their complexity.

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