The ‘love hormone’ oxytocin turns angry lions into cows

The lion lives under a tree at the Rietspruit Game Reserve in Hoedspruit on December 2, 2021

The lion lives under a tree at the Rietspruit Game Reserve in Hoedspruit on December 2, 2021.

Eia kitty kitty …

Scientists who have used oxytocin in the noses of lions have found that large cats are better off with their neighbors and are more likely to cry at strangers when put on the so -called Called the “love hormone.”

The results were published in a journal iScience on Wednesday, there could be significant benefits to keeping the unspoken pride so high that the city sprawl to live with the captives.

“I’ve always loved lions,” neuroscientist and former author Jessica Burkhart told AFP, explaining that she joined the study because she was tired of looking. Studying the brains of the animals in the lab and wanting to teach them real life.

Cats have a reputation for independence, but lions hold on to that – living with pride in their victories and defending rich lands in the African savannah.

“If you think about male lions, for example, they give up pride when they’re two years old and they meet other male lions that they don’t know and they’re not related to. and they will make .the bonds of life, “Burkhart said.

It has been shown that this species of lions – unlike cheetahs and leopards – is designed to be healthy to some degree, making them an interesting test for oxytocin production.

‘Chemical meeting’

Among mammals, oxytocin is the main stimulant of sexual intercourse.

Sometimes called the “chemical cuddle,” it rises in the mother’s brain as she looks into the eyes of her newborn, evoking a sense of well -being and well -being. with joy – even though the baby wants to hold his mother’s breast.

Similar effects have been documented in other ways, including between dogs and human owners.

Doctors believe men who have problems can benefit from eye augmentation, which releases oxytocin.

Working at a wildlife sanctuary in Dinokeng, South Africa in the summer of 2018 and 2019, Burkhart and colleagues from the University of Minnesota ran an experiment using raw meat pieces to tempt to the lions in the enclosure.

The hormone must be injected directly into the nose, using something like an old perfume bottle, so it can go directly to the brain.

After treatment, the 23 lions who were given oxytocin were more patient than the lions in their area. This was measured by the close proximity of the lion to the desired object, in this case as a player, to release the others.

“After the lions were treated with oxytocin, and we gave them their favorite baseball game to play, we saw that the distance between them dropped from about seven meters with the not maintaining about 3.5 meters after oxytocin administration, ”Burkhart said.

The lions did not cry when the voices of the unsuspecting entrants were played – unlike those in a control group who were not sprayed with anything, or soaked in salt water.

Care must be taken

Reducing anger towards strangers is a very exciting endeavor, says Burkhart, because oxytocin appears to have a dark side in a person: while raising positive emotions in humans. those within a group, it can increase conflict with outsiders.

Keeping track of some features can help, he said.

First, it can help capture unidentified lions that have been rescued from abusive conditions, such as circuses or zoos in battlefields, and then place them in sanctuaries. .

Second, while cities in Africa are looting the land of lions, conservationists are being forced to take cats to private care where unidentified pride dwells – even oxytocin. to help prevent conflict.

It can help move the forest, helping lions “become more interested in their new environment so they are more inquisitive and less fearful, leading to more better security, ”Burkhart said.

Worryingly, unscrupulous producers – in the form of “Tiger King” Joe Exotic – will try to use chemistry to help run zoos that promote cattle rustling, much to the chagrin. By animal health advocates.

“The truth is they are wrong … but hopefully this case will help more than hurt,” Burkhart said.


Oxytocin medication can take lions away from anger to friendship


More information:
Jessica C. Burkhart, who promotes Oxytocin to society and reduces alertness in African lion herds, iScience (2022). DOI: 10.1016 / j.isci.2022.104049. www.cell.com/iscience/fulltext… 2589-0042 (22) 00319-4

© 2022 AFP

Directions: The ‘love hormone’ oxytocin turns angry lions into cows (2022, April 3) Retrieved 3 April 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-03-hormone-oxytocin-fierce -lions-kittens.html

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