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Physiol Behav. 1985 Jan;34(1):61-3.

Timing of parturition and postpartum mating in Norway rats: interaction of an interval timer and a circadian gate.


Two temporal variables have been implicated in the timing of postpartum heat in Norway rats: time of day and time since parturition. The nature of the interaction between these variables is not clearly understood. We extend previous observations on this problem to freely behaving animals continuously videotaped during parturition and postpartum mating in a seminatural habitat. The timing of postpartum mating is best described by a model in which an interval timer is coupled to a circadian gating mechanism. Interactions between circadian and interval timing mechanisms may be widespread in the neuroendocrine control of behavior.

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