Friday, November 15, 2013

Color Patterns Of Monkey Faces Reflect Social Order

Monkeys have the most colorful faces of all mammals. New research says there are links between monkeys’ color patterns and their social structure and environment.

The study, led by Sharlene Santana, assistant professor of biology at the University of Washington and the curator of mammals at the Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, examined 139 species of catarrhines, a group of Old World monkeys and apes from Africa and Asia.

To compare faces, Santana and her co-authors conducted complex analyses of hundreds of monkey “head-shots” from online databases.

The study, published in Nature Communications, found that species that live in larger (more social) groups have faces with more complex color patterns than those that live in smaller groups. These color patterns have also evolved to be more complex when closely related species live within the same area, possibly making it easier to tell each other apart.

Full story here.

No comments: