23 and We? Mating for Life Could Be Genetic

I Spy Physiology Blog

Relaxing with the perfect view Credit: iStock

Spending Valentine’s Day with your sweetheart might just take on a new meaning … an evolutionary one. Even though we live in an era in which endless opportunities for a mate are just a swipe left or right, science suggests that maybe we all have that one special someone out there.

Social monogamy is the practice of forming pair bonds in a two-partner relationship. One explanation for monogamy is to protect offspring—one partner takes care of the baby while the other hunts for food. Another more gruesome theory is that animals living in pairs evolved to prevent rival males from killing a female’s baby in order for the male to then sire his own. But why many different species became monogamous remained unanswered. For a long time, all scientists knew was that certain brain regions and hormones (like the “love hormone” oxytocin) played a role.

A new…

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