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Thursday, December 29, 2011

The Thin Line

Posted by on Thu, Dec 29, 2011 at 8:27 AM

From Sarah Hrdy's paper "The Past, Present, and Future of the Human Family":

When male mice encounter a strange pup, they either ignore it or eat it. When suffiently “primed,” however (that is, presented with pup after pup until the males become sensitive to pup signals), males finally quit cannibalizing and caretake: licking pups, gathering them in nests, hovering over them to warm them with their bodies. Primed males do just about everything mothers do, short of lactating. The hormonal basis of such maternal-seeming behavior in males—including humans—is only beginning to be studied.

We all know about the thin line between love and hate, but who knew the line between parental love and cannibalism was even thinner?

 

Comments (4) RSS

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1
I'm sorry, but that article is particularly poorly written.

You're sort of left with the image of the mouse saying, "Well, heck, now that I'm full, I'll take care of the rest of the little darlin's." (Saving them for a later snack?)

Somehow I doubt that's what the actual research points to.
Posted by Lymis on December 29, 2011 at 9:55 AM · Report this
Rotten666 2
True. My first reaction to my newborn was to eat him. Thank god the nurse stopped me. We cool now.
Posted by Rotten666 on December 29, 2011 at 11:59 AM · Report this
3
Mothers eat their own offspring all the time. Eating an unrelated infant is just par for the course.
Posted by Zuulabelle http://www.mellophant.com on December 29, 2011 at 1:05 PM · Report this
4
The thin line between love and ate.

TIFIFY
Posted by Brooklyn Reader on December 29, 2011 at 2:53 PM · Report this

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