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Animals seize their babies by the scruff of the neck to calm them down

By admin on 07.09.2013

We calm our babies by slightly rocking, but we never think that animals can do the same thing.

Kumi Kuroda, scientists from the Institute of Physical and Chemical Research RIKEN ( Japan), decided to compare maternal behavior of humans and animals and suggested that when a cat or a mouse seize their babies by the scruff of the neck – it calms them – just as the child calms down in its mother’s arms .

Researchers set up an experiment with young mothers and their children (age from one to six months). The experiment had three steps:

The child lying in the manger, mother sit next to it;

Mother take baby in her arms;

Mother began to walk back and forth.

Scientists have changed the duration and sequence of these three stages, measuring the pulse of babies and watching their behavior. But result was the same. The strongest anxiety of babies showed kids in bed. They calmed down a bit when they were taken in mother’s arms. And the best result was fixed when mother took baby in her arms and began to walk around the room.

The same story with mice behaviour. When the mother-mice seize her baby by the neck and carried somewhere, baby was calming and relaxing and also took a “compact” pose pursing legs to the body. The same thing happened when the researchers took mice simply by the scruff of the neck.

That is, human infants, and young mice responded to this treatment the same: become passive, less screaming , they slowed pulse.

Further neurobiological researches brought to a special zone in the cerebellar cortex, which is responsible for the sense of balance and body position in space. That is, when cat, mouse or dog seize its baby by the scruff it calms it and cerebellum signals the body to adopt a characteristic pose. And calm and “compact ” baby is really easier to move from place to place. But watching ani,als we can say that animal when taking its baby by the scruff does not necessarily want to carry it somewhere, maybe it just calms it down, “lulls” it.


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