Monkey Face – Don’t Mate with Me!

Monkey Faces

Courtesy William L. Allen

Science Magazine reports on a research that highlights the importance of the face and its signal value in evolutionary history.

The Guenon monkey species tend to live in close proximity to each other, but it is important that they don’t interbreed as such offspring has been found to be infertile.   From an evolutionary standpoint, this species would have died off (or at least drastically decreased the size of their population) if they were not able to somehow know this and not interbreed.

So how has nature dealt with this?

Researchers reported, in Nature Communication, that the Guenon species that live in close contact have evolved certain facial expressions to prevent interbreeding.

The researchers used facial recognition algorithms to analyze photos that were compiled over a year and a half time frame.  They found key features that illustrated the the differences between neighboring species, which is counter to a past belief that it was environmental factors (i.e.lighting etc) that caused the Guenon facial diversity.

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