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THURSDAY, March 31, 2022 (HealthDay Information)
The “love hormone” oxytocin might be able to flip extremely territorial lions into social sweethearts, researchers say.
Lions sometimes guard their turf fiercely, which could be a drawback once they’re on reserves or in captivity and have much less house to share than they do within the wild.
The authors of a research revealed on-line March 30 within the journal iScience examined whether or not oxytocin might cut back probably lethal territorial disputes between lions.
The researchers used hunks of uncooked meat to lure 23 lions at a wildlife reserve in South Africa to a fence so they might spray oxytocin up the lions’ noses with a particular machine.
“By spraying the oxytocin immediately up the nostril, we all know it will probably journey up the trigeminal nerve and the olfactory nerve straight up into the mind,” mentioned research first creator Jessica Burkhart, a researcher on the University of Minnesota’s Lion Center. “In any other case the blood-brain barrier might filter it out.”
After the spurt of oxytocin, the lions had been extra tolerant of different lions of their house and fewer vigilant when it got here to unfamiliar lions, the investigators discovered.
“You may see their options soften instantly, they go from wrinkled and aggressive to this completely calm demeanor,” Burkhart mentioned. “They completely sit back. It is superb.”
The researchers assessed the lions’ social tolerance by seeing how shut they’d enable others to method once they had a favourite toy or once they had meals.
“After the lions had been handled with oxytocin, and we gave them their favourite pumpkin toy to play with, we noticed the typical distance between them drop from about 7 meters with no therapy to about 3.5 meters after oxytocin was administered,” Burkhart mentioned in a journal information launch.
However oxytocin wasn’t sufficient to extend lions’ tolerance of others when there was meals current. Watch the video beneath to see a researcher spraying oxytocin up a lion’s nostril whereas giving it uncooked meat:
The oxytocin-treated lions did present considerably much less vigilance towards potential intruders, by no means roaring in response to recorded roars of unfamiliar lions. Untreated lions all the time roared in response, the researchers famous.
“At present, we’re engaged on introductions of animals who’ve been rescued from circuses or abroad or battle zones that now reside in sanctuaries,” Burkhart mentioned.
“The hope is that it will translate to animals being relocated within the wild, serving to them to change into extra inclined to their new social atmosphere in order that they’re extra curious and fewer fearful, resulting in extra profitable bonding,” she added.
The American Psychological Affiliation has extra on oxytocin.
SOURCE: iScience, information launch, March 30, 2022
By Robert Preidt HealthDay Reporter
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