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'.

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.

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.

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.