Prairie Voles in Love
For your Friday Weird Science, I present to you a Poem!  And I shall call it “Prairie Voles in Love: An Ode to Oxytocin”

Out on the lonely prairie, gazing at the stars above
I saw through the night
the wondrous sight
Of prairie voles in love

‘Twas truly a miracle to see
this display of monogamy
Monogamy, subject of vast debates
In only 3% of mammals, mostly primates
But here on the prairie, in burrows and holes
whole colonies of uxorious voles!

In disbelief, I cried “But who could love a prairie vole?
The way they look, to get laid you’d have to be a blind mole.
The rodents are small,
hairy, buck-toothed and all
Though whiskers are cute, with bright eyes above,
That’s a face only a mother could love!”

Alas, love is not for our minds to control
The hormones must our hearts console
Our posterior pituitary is something great
For forming pair-bonds with our chosen mate!
In the voles together through thick and thin
There is nothing better than oxytocin.

The posterior pituiary, the neurohypophysis
The place the love glow from pair-bonding is.
Without oxytocin, the voles just get laid
There is nothing from which pairings can be made.
The females needed oxytocin for when the morning came
Or male voles were kicked out, to do the walk of shame.

But it turns out that oxytocin is just for a girl
The boys need vasopressin to make their toes curl
ADH can turn those dead-beat dads
who otherwise would be bounders and cads
into a model husband, father, and mate
who any smart girl vole would kill to date.

No miracle, this monogamous bliss
So when your lover walks out
Don’t waste time, scream, or shout,
Look to your neurohypophysis!

I am a HUGE geek.  I know.  Even my advisor tells me so.  Ack!  I’m still rhyming!!
Insel, T.R., Winslow, J.R., Wang, Z.X., Young, L., Hulihan, T.J. (1995). Oxytocin and the molecular basis of monogamy. Advances in Experimental and Medical Biology, 395(1), 227-234.

For your final bit of Friday crack, I give you Things she could have blinded me with

6 Responses

  1. Charming! I always like that story. Heard it twice in person – a seminar by Insel and a seminar by Young.

  2. […] the Prairie Vole, oxytocin is released into the brain of the female during mating.  This is attributed with the […]

  3. :-)))

    My worry is
    With verses such as this,
    With rhyme that flows in
    May have found her bliss!
    The premise, see,
    Is: chemistry,
    And not the moon above,
    Will vary roles
    Of prairie voles–
    And people, too–in love!
    Will some vole croon
    Beneath full moon,
    And woo the lass he’s chosen?
    As Cuttlefish,
    My subtle wish
    Is–pass the oxytocin!

    • Cuttlefish, you have earned
      my undying love just now.
      No hormone, but your poetry
      was the method how
      you won my heart
      with verses smart
      and wit so cool and keen
      hormones, away!
      your verse was the way
      you won my high esteem

  4. […] A good while ago I did a Friday Weird Science which I thought was really cool. Unfortunately, it just wasn't…weird…enough, and so I put it into poetry, because everything is better in verse. It was on Prairie Voles and monogamy, and was called Prairie Voles in Love: […]

  5. […] get used to it after a while. 5) Side note: suckling and lactation also stimulate the release of oxytocin from the hypothalamus. Oxytocin is a molecule implicated in pair-bonding (especially in voles), and […]

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