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 “wrestling room”; foam rubber pads that contained the sweat of several generations of pubescent grapplers. Yet the pungent stench in the zoo came from an entirely different kind of primate; lemurs.
Scents mean a lot to lemurs. They are strepsirrhine primates, or have wet, dog-like nostrils, and the enlarged olfactory centers of their brains suggest that they are more attuned to smells than we are. I can only imagine