This page has been archived and is no longer updated. Published online 8 March Nature doi John Whitfield.
When it comes to the origins of the turtle's shell, the camel's hump or the leopard's spots, storytellers and scientists don't often agree. In the book "Myths and Legends of the Australian Aborigines"there's a story about how the first turtle fashioned a shallow water dish -- known as a coolamon to indigenous Australians -- from a tree, and tied the coolamon to his back for protection along with a strip of bark on his stomach. Scientists writing in the latest issue of Current Biology, however, have a different story to tell.
Sexual swellings are enlarged areas of genital and perineal skin occurring in some female primates that vary in size over the course of the menstrual cycle. Though heavily investigated, the ultimate function of sexual swellings remains unknown. Alone, however, no single hypothesis is believed to account for the function of sexual swellings; a combination of these theories may be more appropriate.
Yes, we all had seen the pictures. Red and swollen, this tooshie bears more fame and recognition then the booty of Kim Kardashian. But far more remarkable than its gruesome appearance is its purpose yes, its purpose.
Baboons are some of the most identifiable of the monkey world. They have tufts of hair on either side of their faces and large, hairless bottoms that can turn red. These old-world monkeys also do not have prehensile tails like some other monkeys, which means they don't use their tail like a hand.
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There are several species of monkeys with enlarged, red bottoms. This feature is called ischial callosity. It provides cushioning for the monkeys when they're seated and also serves other functions, depending on the species.
The swollen red bottom of a female baboon has long been thought to be an irresistible come-hither signal for males. But now, a new study suggests that male baboons are much more sophisticated than that. In fact, a male baboon's Papio cynocephalus motivation to mate with a female is based more on the length of time since her last pregnancy than on the size of her derriere, scientists have found. The female baboon's famously red bottomis a sign of sexual readiness; when female baboons ovulate, their butts swell, making it clear to available males that they are fertile.
While the female baboon's big red bottom may be an eyesore to some, it has an aphrodisiac effect on her mates. Biologists have long thought that baboon males prefer females with bigger backsides as the mark of a good mother, but new research suggests it isn't so simple. A study of wild baboons in southern Kenya reveals that the size of a female's swollen rump doesn't matter as much as previously thought.