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Physiol Behav. 1985 Sep;35(3):361-3.

The importance of olfactory bulb noradrenalin for maternal recognition in sheep.


Herds of grazing mammals characteristically produce precocial offspring in synchrony, and it is therefore important for the mother to form a rapid recognition of her own offspring to distinguish them from others. In sheep, the ewe forms such a selective bond with her lamb within 2-4 hours of parturition, a bond which is primarily dependent on olfactory sensory recognition. Here we report that the neuronal mechanism whereby the olfactory "imprint" is made is dependent on the centrifugal noradrenergic projections to the olfactory bulbs. Lesioning of this neural pathway prevents the ewe from forming a selective bond with her own lamb, enabling her to adopt alien lambs.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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