Friday, 27 June 2014

Facial differences help monkeys avoid interbreeding

Looking different facially has helped Old World monkeys avoid interbreeding with closely related and geographically proximate species, new research shows.

The researchers, from New York University and the University of Exeter, studied 1,400 photographs of nearly two dozen species of guenons, chosen because many of the different species live in close proximity to each other, often travelling, feeding, and sleeping side-by-side.
"These results strongly suggest that the extraordinary appearance of these monkeys has been due to selection for visual signals that discourage hybridization," said lead author William Allen, now at the University of Hull.

"This is perhaps the strongest evidence to date for a role for visual signals in the key evolutionary processes by which species are formed and maintained, and it is particularly exciting that we have found it in part of our own lineage."

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