International Journal of Primatology

, Volume 8, Issue 1, pp 1-15

First online:

A sternal gland in the Siamang Gibbon(Hylobates syndactylus)

  • Thomas GeissmannAffiliated withAnthropological Institute, University Zürich-Irchel

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The present report gives the first description of a sternal gland in the siamang gibbon, Hylobates syndactylus,and the first histological examination of a sternal gland in a hominoid primate other than the orang-utan. The gland does not seem to be used for any kind of marking behavior, in contrast to the sternal glands in many other primates and some other mammals. The sternal gland of the siamang may be derived from a marking gland which specialized secondarily to serve parallel functions like those served by the axillary organs of humans and the African apes. A role of the gland in olfactory communication and a possible minor role in thermoregulation are discussed.

Key words

sternal gland Hylobates syndactylus siamang olfactory communication gibbons