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article imageHow monkeys avoid cross-species breeding

By Tim Sandle     Jul 5, 2014 in Environment
Species in a tightly knit genus of Old World primates use tell-tale facial characteristics to avoid cross-species breeding, according to a new study.
Biologists have studied guenons, Sub-Saharan forest-dwelling monkeys that belong to genus Cercopithecus (such as vervet monkeys and green monkeys). From several years of research, the biologists have shown how the monkeys use different facial patterns as a mechanism to reduce the chances of cross-species breeding.
By looking at 22 species of guenon, researchers from New York University and the University of Hull in the U.K., pin-pointed distinctive features that included ear tufts, nose spots, eyebrow patches, and wispy cheek fur. These striking facial characteristics, Wired magazine notes, were shown to be an effective means of distinguishing between species, which commonly live in close proximity within dense Central and West African forests.
The findings have been published in Nature Communications, in a study titled "Character displacement of Cercopithecini primate visual signals."
More about Monkeys, Breeding, Sex, Guenons, Cercopithecus
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