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Zschoke, Anja; Thomsen, Ruth (2014): Sniffing behaviours in guenons. In: Folia primatologica; international journal of primatology, Vol. 85, No. 4: pp. 244-251


In Old World monkeys (OWM), the olfactory sense is thought to be less important than in other primate taxa. However, during the last decade experimental studies have shown that OWM possess much better olfactory capabilities than suspected. Here, we investigate for the very first time sniffing behaviours in three guenon species (Diana, de Brazza's and owl-faced monkeys) held in the Leipzig Zoo, Germany. We recorded frequencies and contexts of sniffing. The sniff index was used to allow comparisons across species. It was found that individuals sniffed 6.12 ± 7.69 times per hour. Most sniffing occurred in food-related contexts. Furthermore, Diana monkeys sniffed less often than de Brazza's and owl-faced monkeys. Thus, natural selection may drive the differences in using the olfactory sense in closely related primate species.