What do you mean he's my brother?

Research on the subject suggests that somewhere, somehow our squirmy reaction to incest can be expressed genetically. Because of natural selection and all that blah blah, it's thought that there exists a biomechanism that triggers incest avoidance in humans. Well, it looks like some very bold scientists have found a solid starting point for furthur research: lemur hoo-ha's.

i-78a0e237a08f1cd0eff4b0133e2a5356-lemur1.jpg

Christine Drea, Marylene Boulet, and Marie Charpentier from Duke University carefully obtained genital gland secretions from 17 sexually mature female ring-tailed lemurs.
Side note: most species of lemurs live in completely female dominated societies. The only other mammal to consistently do the same is the hyena.

i-b731da7f1072a0f9c3a0336edaf3b948-lemur2.jpg

Those samples were compared to previously gathered samples from 19 males. Turns out they found the first molecular evidence of relatedness markers in the gland secretions. The scents of the lemur hoo-ha's were more similar the more closely related they were, thus providing a biomechanism to tell the lemurs who to wink at, and who not to.
The whole article can be found on the BMC website.

And I thought it was my brother's bathing and eating habits.

More like this

Perhaps judging a man by his cologne isn't as superficial as it seems. Duke University researchers, using sophisticated machinery to analyze hundreds of chemical components in a ringtailed lemur's distinctive scent, have found that individual males are not only advertising their fitness for…
We here at Zooillogix do not usually promote the work of other websites unless it is to mock the "guys" over at DeepSeaNews for getting aroused by images of Alvin, the submarine. The fact is that we believe animal readership on the internet is a zero sum game, and we're not about to lose readers to…
The ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) is the most well-known (or at least most recognizable) of the living lemurs, probably because it is diurnal species and spends a lot of time on the ground. Just because this species is relatively easy to study does not mean it's any less interesting, though. One…
A ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta) enjoying a lunch of salad greens. Photographed at the Bronx Zoo.When I first walked into the Bronx Zoo's recently-constructed Madagascar exhibit I was greeted by an unpleasant, but not unfamiliar, odor. It smelled like the ancient gym mats of my old high school's "…

can't wait to see this research ridiculed by Repukelicans at budget time

Just for accuracy, off the top of my head one other matriarchal mammal society is that of orca whales, though maybe you meant something different.

other matriarchal societies. Naked mole rats? Elephants? Leadbeaters possum? Other toothed whales? Am I right in thinking then certain tribes of people may also be matriarchal?

By Robert Jaques (not verified) on 11 Dec 2009 #permalink

But I said " consistently female dominated" not just "matriarchal."
And let the debate begin... NOW.

And just what the fuck is a "hoo-ha"? Regional juvenile euphemisms are ambiguous to adults from elsewhere.

By BlindRobin (not verified) on 13 Dec 2009 #permalink

Female-dominated you say? That's interesting - because both lemurs and spotted hyenas share another feature - giant clitorises almost indistinguishable from penises.

I've been taught by resonable Cetacean researchers that orchas are indeed, "matriachal."

Now, what that means may well be up for debate. Both orchas and elephants rely on an elder female for long-term memory for areas of resources (food/water... etc).

One could argue what it means to be matriachal verses patriarchal? Male lions may dictate the survival of offspring but the females controle all other resourses. I have yet to see a really good paper that questions what "archy" really means.

I'm just sayin' ;) As for incest under either system... meh, alas, it happens. :D Natural systems generally select against it.

By arachnophile (not verified) on 23 Dec 2009 #permalink

Rad, another species I can anthropomorphically "believe" shares my gender politics!

If you have to get to the point where you are smelling the other one's genitals before you can decide whether you can sex with them or not . . .