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Love for Life? 12 Animals That Are (Mostly) Monogamous [Slide Show]

Is monogamy a myth even in the animal kingdom? Not necessarily. A look at animals that are said to pair off for life

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Humans

Are we humans ( Homo sapiens ) set up to be set up for life? Well, it's complicated. One study found evidence that women pass along more genetic information to their offspring, suggesting that for much of our evolutionary history, men were fathering children with more than one woman.....[ More ]

Lar gibbon

One of the only primate examples of monogamy, Lar gibbons (or white-handed gibbons, Hylobates lar ) have long been documented living in close-knit families. The coupled male and female will spend time grooming each other and (literally) hanging out together in the trees.....[ More ]

Mute swan

Swans swimming beak to beak have become a common symbol of mate-for-life dedication. The males often help in nest-building and egg-incubating, and pairs often return to the same nest year after year. ....[ More ]

Malagasy giant rat

These big-eared rodents are hardly sneaky when it comes to love. Malagasy giant rats ( Hypogeomys antimena ), which reside in a small area of Madagascar, are one of the few monogamous rodent species out there.....[ More ]

Waved albatross

Albatrosses are famous both for their flirtatiousness—taking the form of ritualized mating dances—and for their fidelity. Most settle down with a single mate for life, which can mean decades.....[ More ]

California mouse

The California mouse's scientific name— Peromyscus californicus —might make it sound a little, well, promiscuous. But science says they are actually pretty strictly committed. A genetic test of 28 families over two years found that babies did, indeed, come from the father of each nest.....[ More ]

Black vultures

These ominous birds ( Coragyps atratus ) seem to be deeply serious about their chosen mates. The two hang out together year-round and share parenting duties, creating a close-knit familial unit. Genetic testing of offspring in 16 different vulture families found no evidence of any extra-pair fooling around.....[ More ]

Shingleback skink

The shingleback skink ( Tiliqua rugosa) is an armored lizard that usually pairs off with the same mate each season to make some little lizard babies. The female gives birth to live young, and the male sticks around to keep watch for danger.....[ More ]

Sandhill Crane

The stately sandhill crane ( Grus canadensis ) has long been a symbol of mate-for-life monogamy. Pairs can be heard "unison calling" together: they stand close and "kar-roo" out similar, synchronized notes, which is thought to be a bonding activity.....[ More ]

Prairie voles

The small, burrowing prairie vole ( Microtus ochrogaster ) is practically a paragon of faithfulness—at least enough so for scientists to use them as models of monogamy in the lab. Once these voles have paired up, they share parenting duties, groom one another and generally appear quite cuddly.....[ More ]

Convict cichlid

Despite its inauspicious name, the convict cichlid ( Amatitlania nigrofasciata ) fish is quite a considerate mate and parent. This freshwater fish pairs off with a mate in a crevasse they can call their own.....[ More ]

Kirk's Dik-dik

The doe-eyed does of these dainty African antelope seem to be able to hook their mate's heart for the long haul. Kirk's Dik-dik ( Madoqua kirkii ) roam in tightly bonded pairs and rarely stray from one another, socially or sexually.....[ More ]

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