Make fun of bromances all you want, but a new study suggests they're actually healthy—for male rats, at least.
The value of relationships between female animals for health and well-being has long been established, and according to the study's press release, research has also shown that male-female interactions between rats release the bonding hormone oxytocin.
To find out if the same applies for relationships between males, researchers from the University of California at Berkeley housed pairs of male rats in the same cages.
They essentially created rodent bromances.
Researchers found that inducing stress by physically restraining the rats for several hours led them to touch each other and huddle together more. These rats also released more oxytocin in their brains and even shared their water more cooperatively.
"A bromance can be a good thing," lead author Elizabeth Kirby said in the release. "Males are getting a bad rap when you look at animal models of social interactions, because they are assumed to be instinctively aggressive. But even rats can have a good cuddle—essentially a male-male bromance—to help recover from a bad day."
Kirby added that the study also proves that "having friends is not un-masculine."
So if someone makes fun of your love for your best guy friend, remind them that it's just nature running its course. After all, even rodents do it.
Kirby did not immediately respond to NTRSCTN's request for comment.