1. ITV Report

Monkeys with big noses attract more females according to Cardiff Uni study

Cardiff University students have been researching monkeys in Malaysia and found that male proboscis monkeys with exaggerated masculine traits, such as big noses, 'serve as advertisements to females in mate selection'.

Credit: Ikki Matsuda

Those involved in the study from Cardiff University, Kyoto University and Sabah Wildlife Department and the Danau Girang Field Centre in Malaysia, say the new evidence points to both male-male competition and female choice as contributing to the evolution of enlarged male noses.

In addition to finding that enlarged male noses serve as advertisements to females in mate selection, we also found that males with larger noses also tended to have larger body mass and testis.

This suggests that nose enlargement is a reliable predictor of social dominance and high sperm count.

– Dr Ikki Matsuda, Chubu University and Kyoto University in Japan
Credit: Ikki Matsuda

The primate, which is native to Borneo, sports a sizeable snout, which is said to have long been admired as an 'extremely attractive' visual feature by biologists.

The proboscis monkey is endemic to Borneo and is a totally protected species in Sabah.

Every piece of information that allows us to better understand the behaviour of these charismatic animals is important.

Now our tour guides will be able to tell their guests that size matters, and that males with larger noses attract more females in their harem.

– Dr Benoit Goossens, Director, Danau Girang Field Centre, Cardiff University

Sabah Wildlife Department and Danau Girang Field Centre are currently preparing a 10-year State Action Plan aiming at helping conservation efforts for the proboscis monkey.