Swans are some of the best known long-term pairing animals.This makes them something of a rarity among birds; they do not always mate for life, and some swans have “a little something on the side.” But there are swans which mate for life. Last week, the findings of her study were published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. Voles are one of the species in the 5 percent of the mammals, including humans, that do this. Here’s How You Can Still Watch The Nutcracker, A Christmas Choir And More. Specifically, in her lab, Donaldson studies prairie voles — small, cuddly animals that mate for life. Scientists have known since the late 1970s that voles seek out and want to be with the same partner for life. She says we’re hardwired for human touch. Bald eagles 9. Donaldson suspects that brain chemicals such as oxytocin, dopamine and vasopressin are present in the brain when these bonds are formed. Prairie Voles. Join our community and be among the first to learn more about our efforts to improve human health worldwide. When a male and female vole interact for extended periods of time, the prefrontal cortex increases the activity of the nucleus accumbens, the brain’s reward system. The committed couples listed below tend to mate for life. This rodent species is monogamous, with partners forming lifelong bonds. Bonded albatross pair caring for their chick. "So, what happens when you lose someone? “If you want to see how happy someone is, look at their social life. Because of the pandemic, they’re not able to work in the lab and work on the next steps of their study, Donaldson said. All Rights Reserved. Familiarity makes the heart grow fonder, at least when it comes to the prairie vole. “When I say pair bonds I mean they’re an extreme example of the types of bonds we form as human beings,” she explained. Prairie voles are unique amongst their vole contemporaries for their tendency to mate for life. Visit our new CPR Shop and get items such as face masks, shirts and hats. “Being virtual just doesn’t have the same zing to it,” she laughed. © 2020 Colorado Public Radio. ... Prairie voles 8. So why do prairie voles mate for life? The Lookout daily email brings you a closer look at the issues that affect you with a rundown of important fact-based reporting — with a side of Colorado flavor. So why do prairie voles mate for life? Copyright 2020 National Primate Research Centers - All Rights Reserved. They Both Teach Us How Important Our Social Bonds Are, Courtesy of the University of Colorado Boulder, Rachel Barton Pine: Family Fridays with RBP, News That Matters, Delivered To Your Inbox. “If you think about this from a human perspective, our social bonds are some of the most important things that we have,” Donaldson said. Zoe Donaldson’s lab at CU Boulder studies pair bonds. These pair bonds last until one of the cranes dies – a true mating for life scenario. Studies have found that prairie vole brains respond differently to the chemicals released during social bonding and mating than other voles. While this research has led to additional questions about how the brain impacts the sensational and emotional components of love, it also has longer-term implications. “Prairie voles were critical to our team’s findings because studying pair bonding in humans has been traditionally difficult,” said Dr. Elizabeth Amadei, a co-lead author on the research. How do you overcome that loss and how do you move on?”. Cockroaches “As humans, we know the feelings we get when we view images of our romantic partners, but until now, we haven’t known how the brain’s reward system works to lead to those feelings and to the voles’ pair bonding.”. Image credits: theNerdPatrol From a young age, albatrosses learn how to woo their mates using an elaborate system of preening, pointing, rattling, bowing, and dancing. (Photo: Getty Images). These voles are used as models to help understand mating and monogamy in humans. These tiny rodents are champion snugglers. What Do Quarantine And Voles Have In Common? When a male and female vole interact for extended periods of time, the prefrontal cortex increases the activity of the nucleus accumbens, the brain’s reward system. Peak Perspectives: No ‘Natives’ Or ‘Townies’ Here, Colorado Retailers Aim To Avoid Black Friday Crowds This Year — Without Losing Sales, Coronavirus Pushes Metro Denver Car Thefts To New Heights, Missing Holiday Traditions? She thinks that in addition to love, voles have a lot to tell us about this as well. The study could lead to important therapies for autism, depression and other mental health problems. “From a bigger perspective, given the pandemic, my lab is becoming more and more interested in the flip side of this coin," she said. That, however, wasn’t enough information for this team that wants to understand the specific neural process and neural networks. It takes a good day’s drive to cover Colorado, but we’ll help you do it in a few minutes each morning. “What we didn’t know until pretty recently was what does this code for a partner look like within the brain,” Donaldson said. Prairie vole pairs mate and raise their young together. Donaldson acknowledges the eery timing of this study, when people are experiencing social isolation. There’s a reason why one relationship guide is called Make Love Like a Prairie Vole. Transplant Biology & Regenerative Medicine. Go to shop.cpr.org. She thinks it’s really important to understand that the brain is built in such a way that we’re capable of forming these bonds and that they play a role in determining our happiness. But Donaldson wanted to know how that looked in the brain. The existing research suggests an interaction between chemicals, such as oxytocin and dopamine, and brain regions, including the prefrontal cortex, leads to these lifelong bonds. Many bird species mate for life, but albatross take things up a notch by learning advanced moves to keep the romance alive with their mate. If you want to see how people are able to handle difficult and stressful situations, look at how much social support they have in their lives.”. Until recently, no one knew why. Then, Donaldson and her team used cutting-edge technology called in-vivo-calcium imaging to spy on the brains of dozens of voles. The more we understand, the easier it is to tackle disorders, such as autism, which impair social functioning.”. That “why” is exactly what researchers at the Yerkes National Primate Research Center at Emory University want to understand. She discovered this by first injecting the voles with a virus that would make the cells in the part of the brain called the nucleus accumbens — a region of your brain associated with pleasure — light up when they were choosing to spend time with their partner. Here are some amorous animals who mate for life Prairie Voles. Parasitic schistosoma mansoni worms 10. Since 2015, she’s been doing just that.
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