High-Ranking Male Primates Keep Wafting Their Sex Stink at Females, Who Hate It

Researchers call it “stink flirting.” A male ring-tailed lemur rubs his signature scent onto his long, fluffy tail, then waves it over his head in the direction of a nearby female. Males seem to intend this gesture as a sexual overture. But it often gets them into fights—with lemurs of both sexes. In fact, scientists aren’t sure stink flirting helps male lemurs at all.

Smell is an important communication tool for ring-tailed lemurs (Lemur catta). Both males and females have scent glan

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