Chimps aid EAZA study

DZC’s chimpanzees have provided vital samples towards a European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA) study into whether a female chimp’s genital odour contains information about their reproductive state.

Research student, Lydia Schmidt, who is associated with the research group ‘Primate Behavioural Ecology’ of Leipzig University and the Max-Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, spent three months working alongside our Lower Primates keepers to collect samples from our seven chimpanzee girls throughout different stages of their monthly cycles.

DZC Lower Primates Section Leader, Jodie Dryden, said: “We were pleased to be able to help with the study, which aims to highlight if odour could potentially be an indicator of female ovulation for male chimpanzees. 

“As part of the study, Lydia had to take mouth swabs from the girls as well as collecting the body odour from their genital regions.”

Collecting the body odour from the chimpanzees’ bottoms, involves a non-invasive method using a thermal desorption tube connected to a silent air pump, which sucks up any odour in the air around the genital area. 

Jodie added: “Because of the training routines we regularly go through with the girls each day, they were happy to have their mouths swabbed and present their bottoms when requested for the odour collection.

“It will be really interesting to discover the results.”