A natural reddening of the lips as they age allows mature male monkeys to keep a harem of females. And the younger powerless monkeys bide their time as bachelors.
We all know the power of soft, red, bee-stung lips from such examples as the Rolling Stones, Revlon and that seductress among actresses, Angelina Jolie aka Angie.
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You cannot deny that a pair of smoochable kissers are definitely an asset when it comes to the mating game. But this is not confined to the most dangerous animal on the planet – that is human beings. No, sir. A species of monkey shows similar behavior.
Termed the black and white snub-nosed monkey, this particular primate shows a rigid hierarchy in its social life. Older males show polygamy and the youthful monkeys face sexual frustration.
The lips of the males are responsible for this phenomenon. As the males age, their lips become red in color. The picture is more complicated though. The mating monkeys show a remarkable reddening too.
And the bachelor males have pale lips. The females tend to go for those males who have red lips. Thus the pale-faced immature males are left high and dry.
The behavior is similar to pea-hens choosing the peacock with the most ornate and opulent tail. It comes naturally and goes with the territory. Also the red color could be a sign of social status and Alpha male superiority.
This signal reduces any conflict from taking place. The pale lips of the youthful monkeys are a sure sign that they must remain out of the mating game, at least until they reach a more mature and capable age. Both of these explanations could account for the red lips on the patriarchal monkeys.
Thus plump, rubicund lips are a surefire sign that sexuality is in the air. The study took place in China. The lower lip redness in 15 males was closely examined.
The monkeys normally exist in a one male unit or they could congregate within a community containing as many as 500 members. The younger males are often found to be in segregated groups that cower and are left to fend for themselves.
They are quarantined from access to the females. The interactions of the simians were noted down. The sort of monopoly over the females found in the elderly males was just an example of what a primal horde must have looked like. Thus we see that rabid competition is not something confined to capitalism but a marked feature of Mother Nature too.
This new study published online in Royal Society Open Science.