Rare primate sparks investigation into origins of nose-picking

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Rare primate sparks investigation into origins of nose-picking

A rare primate has caused scientists to investigate the evolutionary origins of nose-picking.

The Aye-aye is a nocturnal lemur found only in Madagascar.

They are famous for their strange, skinny, and unusually long fingers, which they use to pull insects out of branches.

Prof Anne-Claire Fabre from the University of Bern was intrigued when the rare lemur was filmed burying its ENTIRE finger in its nostril.

The footage led and her colleagues to question the evolutionary origins of picking our nose.

After analysing the animal’s actions she realised that the lemur was actually pushing its finger from its nose, into the sinus and from the sinus into the throat and into the mouth.

This is important because there are a few studies examining the cons – and possible pros – of nose picking.

Some have pointed to its role in spreading harmful bacteria. But there is at least one study suggesting that picking your nose and eating it might actually be healthy for teeth, as people who picked their noses reported fewer cavities.

One study encouraged additional research by suggesting that the ingestion of nasal mucus could play an important role for the immune system, because of the immune proteins in the mucus.

The Professor insisted though that it is likely to have evolved for a reason and should continue to be investigated.

Rather than being simply disgusting, it may have benefits for some species as there are only 12 animals in the entire world that pick their nose and all are primates.