Man is not the only animal to pick his nose. On the island of Madagascar lives a small primate who also has this nasty habit.
Picking your nose is not a socially appreciated habit. Rather associated with childish behavior, however, it is not only adopted by representatives of our species. Indeed, several animals, including the aye-aye, have been observed to eat boogers.
The aye-aye, an animal with a hybrid look
Located 400 kilometers from the African continental coast, Madagascar has a rich fauna. Some animals do not exist anywhere else, and if the lemur is the most emblematic species of the island, other species have also emerged in the land of the mora mora.
This is the case for example of the aye-aye. The particularity of this little primate? Like a platypus, it looks like a mixture of several species: it has rodent teeth, bat ears and a squirrel tail. He also has excessively long fingerswhich he uses, among other things, to collect boogers from the back of his nostril…
Caught in flagrante delicto
In a study, published on October 26 in the Journal of Zoology, a team of scientists explains that they very seriously observed an aye-aye picking its nose (the video is available at the end of the paragraph).
But why capture such images? Anne-Claire Fabre, the main author, deplores the lack of studies on this subject, while humans and several other species of primates are picking their noses. Relayed by The Independent, the scientist declares:
“Pretty much every article you can find is humorous. Among the few serious studies that exist, some come from the field of psychology, but at the level of biology, there is almost nothing.”
During their observations, the researchers also noticed that the aye-aye seemed concentrated on its task, and thathe was using his longest finger to accomplish his mission. Comparative studies will have to be carried out to try to explain this behavior and to determine if nose cleaning can have benefits (a study shows that eating boogers could prevent cavities), and if it is related in one way or another to the evolution.
In the meantime, remember that inserting dirty fingers into your nostrils is a great way to bring germs such as staphylococci into your body. If you want to pick your nose, opt for tissues or nasal sprays instead.
Long fingered lemurs have specialized fingers for picking their noses – The Independent
A review of nose picking in primates with new evidence of its occurrence in Daubentonia madagascariensis -Journal of Zoology