Love Hormones in Birds Make Them More Generous

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Love hormones in birds make them more generous, according to a report published on April 11, 2018.

In this study, oxytocin, which is a chemical messenger found in the human brain has been found in other animals by the researchers. Dr. Juan Duque, a neuroscientist at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln said, “Oxytocin is what we call this hormone in mammals, however, the hormone itself is evolutionary ancient and found in animals that are only very distantly related to mammals.” These hormones are known as mesotocin in birds, however, they are avian oxytocin basically.

Researchers were unclear about the extent to which the effects observed in humans and other mammals could be applied to birds. Therefore, researchers studied pinyon jay, which is a highly social bird that is related to crows. These birds voluntarily share their food with each other. Such actions by animals that benefit others are known as ‘prosocial’. Researchers analyzed mesotocin hormones to understand if it has a role in guiding social behavior similar to how it is in humans.

Experiments were conducted where the birds were given the option to feed themselves and also birds in the neighboring cages. The results of this study showed that the birds were willing to share their food with other birds as well. Furthermore, solutions containing high concentrations of bird love hormone was introduced into the birds’ noses. Researchers observed that the birds became more generous, as their willingness to share food increased.

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