A study suggested monogamy evolved as an outgrowth of a "mate guarding strategy": It found that female competition could have encouraged pair bonds. I was turned on, even. It pumps out the feel-good chemical dopamine and the hormone oxytocin, which binds people together. But there was a problem. For instance, research has shown that parts of the prefrontal cortex are deactivated. One year later, another study reconstructed the evolution of another group of primates called lemurs. This area of the brain was around long before the first primates. Extra male care helped early human societies grow and thrive, which in turn "allowed our brains to grow larger than our closest relatives".
Obviously they do not write sonnets, but neither do most humans. As our brains grew, our babies had to be born earlier in development. But there was a problem. Stephanie Cacioppo of the University of Chicago in Illinois, US, scoured the scientific literature to find fMRI brain imaging studies that examined the parts of the brain involved in love. In this stage, we are literally "crazy in love". I spoke to Bergner by phone about everything from monkey porn to rape fantasies. His team peered back into the family tree of primates to reconstruct how behaviours like mating and parenting changed over the course of evolution. It is a revelation, a story of redemption. Sex began as a way to pass on an organism's genes to the next generation. Their analysis suggested that infanticide has been the driving force for monogamy for 20 million years, because it consistently preceded monogamy in evolution. This includes a preference for your partner and antagonism towards potential rivals. This in turn could have been the "kick" that changed human evolution, says Opie. We owe much of our success as a species to that crazy little thing called love. This is an area involved in rational decisions. This includes the insula, an area known to be involved in intense emotional experiences. He says the methods in these studies "cannot be used to determine the switch to monogamy". The journey to love as we know it today began with sex, which was one of the first things life on Earth figured out how to do. As one researcher tells Bergner of all the restrictions put on female sexuality: Libraries have shelves of books filled with romantic prose. For instance, research has shown that parts of the prefrontal cortex are deactivated. These feelings seem to have deep roots in evolutionary history. In other words, animals' brains have been primed for at least some forms of love for hundreds of millions of years. What's more, it seems that aspects of love depend on regions of the brain that only appeared quite recently in our evolutionary history. This book should be read by every woman on earth. Touching them releases feel-good chemicals and we experience an intense longing to be with them.
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