Review by Sid Perkins
A nursing mother, a pet lover and a horse in a cavalry charge have at least one thing in common: bloodstreams full of oxytocin, Olmert contends in this fascinating book that explores the deep connection between people and animals.
Many studies have linked oxytocin, one of several mammalian hormones produced in the hypothalamus, to maternal bonding, trust and social recognition in several species.
In pregnant humans, a surge of oxytocin stimulates labor. Once a baby is delivered, the neurochemical induces the mother to release breast milk — an elegant symbiotic design that keeps babies fat and happy and can send nursing mothers into a state of dreamy contentedness. At the other extreme, mice genetically incapable of producing oxytocin can’t recognize mice that they’ve