Sunday SciKu | Lovely Lemurs

Science folks save their love-related press releases for the week of Valentine’s Day, and this Sunday sciku is no exception. Monogamy is rare in mammals, with only around 4 percent of our animal class exhibiting long-term pair-bonding. Thirty years ago, researchers looked inside the brains of committed voles to see what makes love tick, and came to the conclusion that it seemed to be extra oxytocin receptors creating a kind of love circuit.

This year, researchers at Duke tried to find the same thing in a romantic species of lemurs, which are more closely related to humans—but it just plain wasn’t there. It turns out that there is no common program for love—it’s complicated, and likely arises in various species independently, as convergent evolution. So there’s not much hope of inventing Love Potion #9. We just have to keep working at it every Valentine’s Day.


great love
in the red-bellied lemurs


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