Findings

Science  13 Jan 2012:
Vol. 335, Issue 6065, pp. 152
  1. More Than Just a Pretty Face

    CREDIT: S. E. SANTANA ET AL., PROCEEDINGS OF THE ROYAL SOCIETY B (ADVANCED EDITION, 2012)

    Monkeys can tell a lot about their neighbors from their colorful facial patterns. In South America, the faces of these tree-swingers come in all shapes and colors. Some differences give the animals an edge in their environment: Brown fur is better than white for camouflage, for instance. But many monkeys sport complicated, multicolored patterns that might not suit those sneaky needs. To get to the bottom of these appearances, researchers created facial recognition software to map out the faces of 129 species of New World monkeys (above) and rated them by the complexity of their color patterns. Monkeys who live in smaller groups or alone tended to have more complex color patterns than those who live in larger groups. Monkeys with many colors, such as the spider monkey, may need to be more conspicuous to quickly recognize others from the same species, the researchers hypothesize this week in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, as such encounters may be few and far between. http://scim.ag/MonkeyFace

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