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Research team captures social dynamics of 'pee-shy' mice

Still Waters

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Posted (IP: Staff) ·

Urine scent marks are the original social media, allowing animals to advertise their location, status and identity. Now Cornell research is shining a new light—via thermal imaging of mice—on how this behavior changes depending on shifting social conditions.

The thermal recordings show that mice that recently lost a fight become "pee shy," while the victors increase their frequency of marking. The speed and tempo of urination change, too, with males quicker to scent mark after fighting.

Because mice have a limited amount of urine on reserve, understanding how they decide to release it—or hold it in—gives scientists insight into the ways that animals manage their social signaling.


The group's paper, "Dynamic Changes to Signal Allocation Rules in Response to Variable Social Environments in House Mice," published March 21 in Communications Biology.


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