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Durham University

Durham University News


Chimpanzees can sniff out strangers

(24 October 2018)

Chimpanzees’ sense of smell is more sophisticated than we thought with a new study showing that our closest relatives use their noses to smell danger.

The study shows that chimpanzees can smell who is a stranger and who is part of their family.

It was previously thought that they relied more heavily on their eyes than on their noses.

Knowing who is in their inner circle helps the chimps to not only spot a suitable ally but also avoid mating with close relatives or attacking their own offspring.

Who carried out the research?

Professor Jo Setchell from the Department of Anthropology at Durham University who is an expert in primate behaviour and Dr Stefanie Henkel from the University of Leipzig and the Max Planck Institute for Evolutional Anthropology in Germany.

Where is the research published?

In the Royal Society Proceedings B. You can also see it in Durham Research Online.

Read more about the research with chimpanzees.

Find out more

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