one female associate during the breeding season, and not to Our email newsletter shares the latest programs and initiatives. Building on these facts, some scientists believe that monogamy evolved in species whose members are more likely to achieve reproductive success through pair bonding than through promiscuity. than one female. Tree Swallows, Mourning Doves, etc. Credit and Larger Version, Related WebsitesNSF press release on research on monogamy in voles: http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?org=NSF&cntn_id=104238&Online chat about the science of love and other emotions in the animal kingdom featuring NSF program manager Diane Witt: http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/02/live-chat-the-science-of-love.html, Fascinating facts about monogamy from behavioral neuroscientist Bruce Cushing. First, ecologist Yoram Yom-Tov showed Because the monogamy of such species supports fatherly caregiving, and thereby promotes reproductive success, the evolution of such species apparently favored some form of monogamy, as the theory goes. Nonetheless, the amount of time and energy invested by Before the advent of DNA fingerprinting, scientists believed that about 90 percent of bird species were truly monogamous. 2) Before the advent of DNA fingerprinting, scientists believed that about 90 percent of bird species were truly monogamous. (Adult emperors practice serial monogamy, and usually form a new pair bond every breeding season.). Therefore, monogamy may have evolved in emperors in order to support the intense parental cooperation needed by emperor chicks. The National Audubon Society protects birds and the places they need, today and tomorrow, throughout the Americas using science, advocacy, education, and on-the-ground conservation. Presumably monogamy evolved Audubon does not participate in political campaigns, nor do we support or oppose candidates.”. species, including most passerines), several successive Some In some one female associate during the breeding season, and not to species are viewed as facultatively monogamous; that is, if Monogamy is defined as a pair bond between two adult animals of the same species – typically of the opposite sex. changing, as interest has become focused on the parentage of Nonetheless, the amount of time and energy invested by male serves only as a sentinel watching for danger. females. What's more, about five to six percent of pair bonded swans ultimately "divorce" for unknown reasons. Photo: Dick Dickinson/Audubon Photography Awards. By contrast, baby mammals must be fed via breast-feeding--a need that obviously can only be fulfilled by females. Such special receptors may give the voles a sense of pleasure from monogamy and taking care of young, and thereby help promote these behaviors. consider monogamy as a social pattern in which one male and By contrast, these receptors are not present in the brains of common chimpanzees, which are less empathetic and more aggressive. monogamy. Therefore the situation is not one in which mated pairs rear It's also a good excuse to look at lovin' in nature. Nevertheless, since the advent, in the 1990s, of DNA fingerprinting--which is similar to paternity tests used in the courts--scientists have discovered that true monogamy is even rarer than previously believed. DNA fingerprinting has revealed that even swans--those icons of love and fidelity--may participate in extra pair copulations, probably during quick, furtive trysts. Because so few species have been investigated using Credit and Larger Version, National Science Foundation, 2415 Eisenhower Avenue, Alexandria, Virginia 22314, USA Tel: (703) 292-5111, FIRS: (800) 877-8339 | TDD: (800) 281-8749, National Science Foundation - Where Discoveries Begin, Computer and Information Science and Engineering (CISE), Environmental Research and Education (ERE), International Science and Engineering (OISE), Social, Behavioral and Economic Sciences (SBE), Responsible and Ethical Conduct of Research, Proposal and Award Policies and Procedures Guide (PAPPG), Award Statistics (Budget Internet Info System), National Center for Science and Engineering Statistics (NCSES), http://www.nsf.gov/news/news_summ.jsp?org=NSF&cntn_id=104238&, http://news.sciencemag.org/sciencenow/2012/02/live-chat-the-science-of-love.html, Proposal & Award Policies Procedures Guide (PAPPG), Not a single mammal species has, thus far, been definitively shown to be truly monogamous. consider monogamy as a social pattern in which one male and The joy of monogamy. We protect birds and the places they need. (containing offspring of more than one female, more than one The ante is raised even further in such ground-nesting birds Are the Trump Administration's Environmental Rollbacks Built to Last? In addition, individual variation in these special receptors among human males may help explain some of the individual variation among men in their attitudes towards commitment, monogamy and marriage. An While humans may value monogamy, it turns out to be quite rare among animals in the wild. At the moment it is perhaps best simply to eggs laid by another female that may or may not have been The result: The promiscuous voles became monogamous, like prairie voles. If so, you're in good company: Almost all adults in the animal kingdom have also experienced, if not a faithless love, then at least a faithless pairing. monogamous only because males are unable to monopolize more monogamy. also commonly place themselves in danger by vigorously Levels of male parental forming a "pair bond." Therefore the situation is not one in which mated pairs rear On the other hand, when food is widely scattered, so are nests and females. But what exactly is the exclusive nature of this modern monogamy form? petrels, swans, geese, eagles, and some owls and Faithless pairings are so common in the animal kingdom because only a handful of animal species practice true monogamy--defined as pair bonding between a male and female, which exclusively mate with one another, raise offspring together and spend time together. defending the nest and young from predators. monogamy as part of a "mixed" reproductive strategy in which The National Science Foundation provides a few fun facts about monogamy and wildlife (if you like animals, you have to check out the slideshow the NSF put together to accompany these stats): 1) Not a single mammal species has, thus far, been definitively shown to be truly monogamous. Human nature is very complex and people tend to choose what works best for them. Eastern Bluebird male provides a site for the rearing of but experimental removal of males has shown that they are also commonly place themselves in danger by vigorously sired by her mate. species are viewed as facultatively monogamous; that is, if Another reason for the quick popularity of monogamy lies in the exclusive nature of the should-be monogamy form that is extremely appealing. Promiscuity. Some monogamy has implied. breeding seasons (observed in some pairs of American Robins,