Nose-picking primates spark scientific quest

Warning: The video contained in the link is not suitable for those with a sensitive disposition … :scream_cat:

It is a biological mission that began with a chance encounter with a lemur that was picking its nose. It wasn’t just any lemur; an aye-aye was filmed by Prof Anne-Claire Fabre from the University of Bern burying its elongated finger in its nostril.

Aye-ayes are nocturnal primates found only in Madagascar. They are famous for their strange, skinny, long fingers, which they use to fish grubs out of branches.

“I wanted to know where is this finger going?” Prof Fabretold the BBC. “It was inserting the entire length and, [when you look at] the length of its head, it was like - where is it going?” she recalled. “I wondered - is it inserting it into its brain? It was so weird and seemed impossible.”

The question intrigued Prof Fabre so much that she conducted 3D anatomical analysis of the aye-aye’s head, to reconstruct the seemingly impossible anatomy of the nose picking.

“It was going into the sinus and from the sinus into the throat and into the mouth,” she explained.

With her colleagues, Prof Fabre searched the scientific literature for evidence of other animals that pick their noses. In a study they published in the Journal of Zoology, the team found 12 examples of primates caught in the nose-picking act. Fundamentally, Prof Fabre says it is likely to have evolved for a reason and should be investigated.

“We have no idea about its functional role,” she told the BBC. “And it could be advantageous.”

Rather than being simply disgusting, it may have benefits for some species and since so many animals appear to share this habit, Prof Fabre said, “I think we really need to investigate it”.

I am reminded of the childish chant:

Everybody’s doing it, doing it
Picking their nose and chewing it, chewing it
Thinking it’s candy, but it’s not …
… it’s snot!


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Please don’t add a “strictly on topic” tag to this thread @Omah. I foresee mostly deviations!! :grin::wink:

Nose-picking is the act of extracting nasal mucus with one’s finger (rhinotillexis) and may include the subsequent ingestion of the extracted mucus (mucophagy). In Western cultures, this act is generally considered to be social deviant; parents and pediatricians have historically tried to prevent development of the habit and attempt to break it if already established. Mucophagy is a source of mockery and entertainment in the media.

Nose-picking is an extremely widespread habit: some surveys indicate that it is almost universal, with people picking their nose on average about four times a day. A 1995 study of nose-picking, requesting information from 1,000 randomly selected adults from Wisconsin USA gathered 254 responses. It defined nose-picking as “the insertion of a finger (or other object) into the nose with the intention of removing dried nasal secretions”. Of those who responded, 91% said they were current nose-pickers (but only 75% of these believed everyone did it), and two respondents claimed to spend between 15 and 30 minutes and between one and two hours a day picking their noses.

In some cultures, nose-picking is considered a private act akin to defecation, urination, flatulence, burping, or masturbation. Mucophagy, which is eating the extracted mucus, may be considered more taboo, and is sometimes portrayed in comedies.

When nose picking becomes a body-focused repetitive behavior or obsessive–compulsive disorder it is known as rhinotillexomania. Most cases do not meet this pathological threshold. When it does, however, treatments similar to other BFRBs can be employed, such as habit reversal training and decoupling.

Fascinating … image

Moving on…

The only things I know about Madagascar (other than it has some terrible roads, as made clear in an Amazon Grand Tour episode), is that it used to have some nutter of a queen in the 19th century, if that Flashman book has any basis in history.

I also read that the Nazis were toying with the idea of relocating the Jews from Europe to live there instead.

Haven’t watched the cartoon film though.

I can`t believe someones been paid to do the research.
What a load of b…s.

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its just a source of additional protein or carbohydrate in extreme conditions - and if \i recall salty?? - I can remember my brother call to ma - :ma D is pickin his nose again!!

This is good thread to read if you want to lose weight :face_vomiting: as your appetite disappears!

I couldn’t bring myself to click on the link… the finger up the nose was enough!!

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Do they use their long fingernails to scratch their b…s too? Or perhaps somewhere worse :flushed:

I must leave the researchers some money in my will so they can find out.

Quite so!
Back in the day I’m not sure that I’d accept a sweet from this gentleman… medicinal or not.

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OOOOh Dextrous63,i am now picturing this,and its not a pretty sight lol.
I shall be leaving them tissues.

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… tastes like chicken

If one does have the habits of picking one’s nose, biting one’s nails and scratching one’s bottom, then the order is all important!!

Top comment Dextrous63.
At least they are picking their own lol.

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Noooooooh!! Don’t say that!!!

Well mines not for hire or sale Dextrous63 lol.

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EBay…item not sold, BV.

If you pick your nose you could end up looking like this:


McCririck had already upset Caprice by talking about farting - which the model hates and refers to as “flatulating”. He said: “Every time you fart, or flatulate, or whatever, you live another 10 minutes. You’re getting the poisons out of your body.”

When Caprice groaned, he demanded: “It’s good for you, what’s wrong with you, woman? Never stop farting, always do it.” He added: “Picking your nose is really healthy, and eating it. Mine’s very tasty.”


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Try Shpock Dextrous63, theres some strange folk on that site,and so many time wasters.

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