Why Do Proboscis Monkeys Have Such Long Noses?

When thinking of monkeys, most people picture primates like chimpanzees, tamarins, or capuchins, among others. They each have their own unique features, though none are quite as unique as that of the proboscis monkey.

One glance is all you need to see the incredibly distinct nose of this monkey. And their noses aren’t just big. They’re the biggest. According to the Smithsonian Channel, they have the biggest noses of any primate.

Proboscis monkeys live in the Asian jungles of Borneo, the third-largest island in the world. They tend to hang out near swamps, rivers, and mangroves on the island. And like thousands of other species, these monkeys spend the majority of their time in trees, off of the ground. They do, occasionally, scavenge the earth for food, such as seeds, fruits, insects, and leaves.

Beyond climbing on and swinging from trees, these monkeys are known to be skilled at swimming. In fact, they even have webbed feet that help them navigate rough waters and water-based predators, such as crocodiles.

These funny-nosed monkeys are known to live in harems, typically consisting of one male and as many as seven females (plus any babies).

A lot of this is typical monkey stuff, what you’d expect from a primate. But none of it answers the question that’s really burning in our minds: Why do they have such outlandish noses? Do their massive noses serve a purpose?

Thankfully, the Smithsonian Channel released a video to answer just that question.

Check it out below to learn why proboscis monkeys have those huge noses:

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