In biology, a pair bond is the strong affinity that develops in some species between a mating pair, often leading to the production and rearing of offspring and potentially a lifelong bond. The shingleback skink is a type of lizard native to Australia that returns to the same partner each mating season. Pair-bonding is a term coined in the 1940s that is frequently used in sociobiology and evolutionary biology circles. Stories of monogamous animals have a way of melting human hearts. Most rodents are not monogamous by nature, but prairie voles are the exception to the rule. While examples of committed mates for life exist, such as the Chicago coyotes, actually pinning down a species that is consistently genetically monogamous, or absolutely monogamous, is nearly impossible, Young says. But monogamy in the animal kingdom is more circumstantial, complicated and often promiscuous than the standards we have for ourselves. Ben Franklin Thought So. The majority of monogamous avians form long-term pair bonds which typically result in seasonal mating: these species breed with a single partner, raise their young, and then pair up with a new mate to repeat the cycle during the next season. , According to evolutionary psychologists David P. Barash and Judith Lipton, from their 2001 book The Myth of Monogamy, there are several varieties of pair bonds:. , Close to ninety percent of known avian species are monogamous, compared to five percent of known mammalian species. Ongoing research is also revealing that some pairs aren't as exclusive as we once thought. Wildlife ecologist Cecilia Hennessy and colleagues in 2012 reported exclusive partnership in 236 coyotes that were genetically sampled over a six-year period in the Chicago area. These differences are located in the ventral forebrain and the dopamine-mediated reward pathway. In 2017, researchers placed video cameras and microphones inside nesting boxes during mating season to observe the songbird, lauded for years as a strictly monogamous species. It typically refers to a pair bond between two animals that are defending resources, such as shelter and food, and jointly caring for their offspring. Even among the animals best known for having life partners — such as birds — it turns out sex with additional partners occurs more often than not. (Credit: Karel Bartik/Shutterstock), The Mystery of Male Pregnancy and Birth in Seahorses, The Secrets of Bat Echolocation Could Help Robots Navigate With Sound, Animals That Sleep the Least and the Most, Giant Tegu Lizards Are Moving Into Georgia — and They’re Not Welcome, Should the Turkey Replace the Bald Eagle as the National Bird? T. moorii broods exhibit genetic monogamy (all eggs in a brood are fertilized by a single male). Sign up for our email newsletter for the latest science news. For example, recent studies show that extra-pair copulation frequently occurs in monogamous birds in which a "social" father provides intensive care for its "social" offspring. In biology, a pair bond is the strong affinity that develops in some species between a mating pair, often leading to the production and rearing of offspring and potentially a lifelong bond. When animal researchers use the term social monogamy, “it doesn’t require fidelity,” says Rebecca Young, an evolutionary biologist at the University of Texas at Austin. Marriage can be associated with a sexual or social pair bond; however, married couples do not necessarily have to experience both or either of these bonds. Genetic monogamy has also been reported in three other mammal species: the California mouse, Kirk’s dik-dik and the Malagasy giant jumping rat, according to a 2014 study in Proceedings of the Royal Society B. Pair bonding in humans helps explain extreme "bonds" that we may share with others but are unable to articulate in terms of contemporary "love". When compared to montane voles, which are polygamous, monogamous prairie voles appear to have more of these AVP and oxytocin neurotransmitter receptors. “It helps in certain ecological conditions to have monogamous pair bonding,” Young says, and yet “there are some conditions where being a wanderer is actually better.”. The term often implies either a lifelong socially monogamous relationship or a stage of mating interaction in socially monogamous species. In various species, males provide parental care and females mate with multiple males. One of those on the list of animals that mate for life actually lives in Brooklyn, New York — and it’s a special breed of parrot, commonly referred to as Quaker Parrots . “The absence of evidence is not evidence of absence,” Young says.