Chemical and Behavioral Complexity in Mammalian Chemical Communication Systems: Guinea Pigs (Cavia Porcellus), Marmosets (Saguinus Fuscicollis) and Humans (Homo Sapiens)

  • George Preti
  • Amos B. SmithIII
  • Gary K. Beauchamp


The odorous secretions produced by mammals have long interested man. In some ancient civilizations, the scents produced by sacred or powerful animals were worn by men in an effort to capture some of its power (Kingston, 1965). In more recent times, organic chemists and perfumers have sought to identify and employ the volatile constituents of mammalian secretions and excretions in perfumes and colognes while animal behaviorists and reproductive biologists have explored the role such constituents play in olfactory chemical communication. With the establishment that volatiles in excreted body fluids play a significant role in mammalian communication organic chemists have become interested in the isolation and identification of these compounds. Such studies require an interdisciplinary approach.


Maleic Anhydride Scent Mark Vaginal Secretion Dominant Female Isovaleric Acid 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Albone, E.S. and Fox, M.W., 1971. Anal gland secretion of the red fox. Nature, 233: 569–570.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Albone, E.S., Eglinton, G., Walker, J.M. and Ware, G.C., 1974. The anal sac of the red fox (Vulpes vulpes): its chemistry and microbiology. A comparison with the anal sac secretion of the lion (Panthera leo). Life Sciences, 14: 387–400.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Albone, E.S. and Perry, G.C., 1976. Anal sac secretion of the red fox, Vulpes vulpes; volatile fatty acids and diamines: implications for a fermentation hypothesis of chemical recognition. J. Chem. Ecology, 2: 101–111.Google Scholar
  4. Andersen, K.R. and Bernstein, D.T., 1975. Some chemical constituents of the scent of the striped skunk (Mephitis mephitis). J. Chem. Ecology, 1: 493–499.Google Scholar
  5. Andersson, G., Andersson, K., Brudin, A. and Rappe, C., 1975. Volatile compounds from the tarsal scent gland of reindeer (Rangifer tarandus). J. Chem. Ecology, 1: 275–281.Google Scholar
  6. Anonymous, 1971. A human pheromone? Lancet 1: 279.Google Scholar
  7. Beauchamp, G.K., 1973. Attraction of male guinea pigs to con–specific urine. Physiol. Behay., 10: 589–594.Google Scholar
  8. Beauchamp, G.K., Doty, R.L., Moulton, D.G. and Mugford, R.A., 1976. The pheromone concept in mammalian chemical communication: a critique, in R.L. Doty (ed), Mammalian Olfaction, Reproductive Processes, and Behavior. Academic Press, New York, in press.Google Scholar
  9. Beauchamp, G.K., Magnus, J.G., Shmunes, N.T. and Durham, T., 1976. Effects of olfactory bulbectomy on social behavior of male guinea pigs (Cavia porcellus). Physiol. Behay.: in press.Google Scholar
  10. Beriiter, J., Beauchamp, G.K. and Muetterties, E.L., 1973. Complexity of chemical communication in mammals: Urinary components mediating sex discrimination by male guinea pigs. Biochem. Biophys. Res. Comm., 53: 264–271.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Berüter, J., Beauchamp, G.K. and Muetterties, E.L., 1974. Mammalian chemical communication: perineal gland secretion of the guinea pig. Physiol. Zool., 47: 130–136.Google Scholar
  12. Brooksbank, B.W.L., Brown, R. and Gustafsson, 1974. The detection of 5œ–Androst–16–en–3a–ol in human male axillary sweat. Experientia, 30: 864–865.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Brownlee, R.G., Silverstein, R.M., Mü-Schwarze, D. andSinger, A.G., 1969. Isolation, identification and function of the chief component of the male tarsal scent in black–tailed deer. Nature, 221: 284–285.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Cohen, L., 1969. Influence of pH on vaginal discharges. Brit. J. Vener. Dis., 45: 241–245.Google Scholar
  15. Comfort, A., 1974. The likelihood of human pheromones, p. 386–394, in M.C. Birch (ed), Pheromones. North Holland Research Monograph, Frontiers in Biology, Vol. 32, North Holland Publishing Company, Amsterdam London.Google Scholar
  16. Curtis, R.F., Ballantine, J.A., Keverne, E.G., Bonsall, R.W. and Michael, R.P., 1971. Identification of primate sexual pheromones and the properties of synthetic attractants. Nature, 232: 396–398.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Doty, R.L., 1972. The role of olfaction in man–sense or nonsense? P. 143–159, in S.H. Barthey (ed), Preception in Everyday Life. Harper and Row, New York.Google Scholar
  18. Doty, R.L., Ford, M., Preti, G. and Huggins, G.R., 1975. Changes in the intensity and pleasantness of human vaginal odors during the menstrual cycle. Science, 190: 1316–1318.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Doty, R.L., 1976. Reproductive endocrine influences upon human nasal chemoreception: a review, in R.L. Doty (ed), Mammalian Olfaction, Reproductive Processes, and Behavior. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  20. Doyle, J.B., Ewers, F.J. and Sapit, D., 1960. The new fertility testing tape: a predictive test of the fertile period.J. Am. Med. Assoc., 172: 1744–1750.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. Epple, G., 1974. Pheromones in primate reproduction and social behavior, p. 131–155, in W. Montagna and W.A. Sadler (eds) Reproductive Behavior. Plenum Publishing Corp., New York.Google Scholar
  22. Epple, G., 1975. The behavior of marmoset monkeys (Callithricidae) p. 195–235, in L.A. Rosenblum (ed) Primate Behavior: Developments in Field and Laboratory Research, Vol. 4. Academic Press, New York.Google Scholar
  23. Goldfoot, D.A., Kravetz, M.A., Goy, R.W. and Freeman, S.K., 1976. Lack of effect of vaginal lavages and aliphatic acids on ejaculatory responses in rhesus monkeys: Behavioral and chemical analyses. Horm. Behay., 7: 1–27.Google Scholar
  24. Goodrich, B.S. and Mykytowycz, R., 1972. Individual and sex differences in the chemical composition of the pheromone–like substances from the skin glands of the rabbit. J. Mamm., 53: 540–548.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Gorman, M.L.,Nedwell, D.B. and Smith, R.M., 1974. An analysis of the contents of the anal pockets of Herpestes auropunctatus (Carnivora: Viverridae). J. Zool., Lond., 172: 389–399.Google Scholar
  26. Gorman, M.L., 1976. A mechanism for individual recognition by odour in Herpestes auropunctatus (Carnivora: Viverridae) Anim. Behay., 24: 141–145.Google Scholar
  27. Hafez, E.S.E. and Black, D.L., 1969. The mammalian uterotubal junction, p. 114, in E.S.E. Hafez and D.L. Black (eds)The Mammalian Oviduct: Comparative Biology and Methodology. The University of Chicago Press.Google Scholar
  28. Hertz, H.S., Hites, R.A. and Biemann, K., 1971. Identification of mass spectra by computer–searching a file of known spectra. Anal. Chem., 43: 681–690.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Hesterman, E.R., Goodrich, B.S. and Mykytowycz, R., 1976. Behavioral and cardiac responses of the rabbit, Oryctolagus cuniculus, to chemical fractions from anal gland. J. Chem. Ecology, 2: 25–37.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Huggins, G.R. and Preti, G., 1976. Volatile constituents of human vaginal secretions. Am. J. Obstet. Gynecol., 124: 385–401.Google Scholar
  31. Keith, L., Stromberg, P., Krotoszynski, B.K., Shah, J. and Dravnieks, A., 1975. The odors of the human vagina. Arch. Gynäk, 220: 1–10.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Kingston, B.H., 1965. The chemistry and olfactory properties of musk, civet and castoreum, Internal Proceedings of the Second International Congress of Endocrinology, 209–214.Google Scholar
  33. Lederer, E., 1949. Chemistry and biochemistry of some mammalian secretions and excretions. J. Chem. Soc., 2115–2125.Google Scholar
  34. Masters, W.H. and Johnson, V.E., 1966. Human Sexual Response. Little, Brown and Company, Boston. p. 68–100.Google Scholar
  35. Michael, R.P., Keverne, E.B. and Bonsall, R.W., 1971. Pheromones: isolation of male sex attractants from a female primate. Science, 172: 964–966.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Michael, R.P., Bonsall, R.W. and Warner, P., 1974. Human vaginal secretions: volatile fatty acid content. Science, 186: 1217–1219.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Michael, R.P., Bonsall, R.W. and Kutner, M., 1975. Volatile fatty acids, “copulins,” in human vaginal secretions. Psychoneuroendo., 1: 153–163.Google Scholar
  38. Melrose, D.R., Reed, H.C.B. and Patterson, R.L.S., 1971. Androgen steroids associated with boar odour as an aid to the detection of oestrous in pig artificial insemination. Brit. Vet. J., 127: 497–501.Google Scholar
  39. Moghissi, K.S., 1972. The effect of steroidal contraceptives on the reproductive system, p. 559, in E.S.E. Hafez and P.H. Evans (eds), Human Reproduction: Conception and Contraception. Harper and Row, Hagerstown, Maryland.Google Scholar
  40. Müller-Schwarze, D., Mü-Schwarze, C., Singer, A.G. and Silverstein, R.M., 1974. Mammalian Pheromone: Identification of active component in the subauricular scent of the male pronghorn. Science, 183: 860–862.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Perkins, E.M., 1966. The skin of the black–collared tamarin (Tamarinus nigricollis). Am. J. Phys. Anthrop., 25: 41–69.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Preti, G. and Huggins, G.R., 1975. Cyclic changes in volatile acidic metabolites of human vaginal secretions and their relation to ovulation. J. Chem. Ecology, 1: 361–376.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Preti, G., Muetterties, E.L., Furman, J., Kennelly, J.J. and Johns, B.E., 1976. Volatile constituents of dog (Canis familiaris) and coyote (Canis latrans) anal sacs. J. Chem. Ecology, 2: 179–188.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  44. Ruzicka, L., 1926. Hehr. Chico Acta, 9:230, 715 and 1008.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  45. Schneider, R.A., 1971. The sense of smell and human sexuality. Med. Aspects Hum. Sex., 5:157–168.Google Scholar
  46. Singer, A.G., Agosta, W.C., O’Connell, R.J., Pfaffmann, C., Bowen, D.V. and Field, F.H., 1976. Dimethyl disulfide: an attractant pheromone in hamster vaginal secretion. Science, 191: 948–950.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  47. Smith, A.B., Yarger, R.G. and Epple, G., 1976. The major volatile constituents of the marmoset (Saguinus fuscicollis) scent mark. Tet. Letters, 983–986.Google Scholar
  48. Thiessen, D.D., Regnier, F.E., Rice, M., Goodwin, M., Issacks, N.and Lawson, N., 1974. Identification of a vential scent marking pheromone in the male Mongolian gerbil (Meriones unguidulatus). Science, 184: 83–84.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  49. Vandenbergh, J.G., Whitsett, J.M. and Lombardi, J.R., 1975. Partial isolation of a pheromone accelerating puberty in female mice. J. Reprod. Fertil., 43: 515–523.Google Scholar
  50. Waltman, R., Tricorni, V., Wilson, G.E., Jr., Lewin, A.H., Goldberg, N.L. and Chang, M.M.Y., 1973. Volatile fatty acids in vaginal secretions: human pheromones? Lancet, 2: 496.PubMedCrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Wheeler, J.W., von Endt, D.W. and Wemmer, C., 1975. 5-Thiomethylpentane-2,3-dione. A unique natural product from the striped hyena. J. Am. Chem. Soc., 97:441–442.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1977

Authors and Affiliations

  • George Preti
    • 1
    • 2
  • Amos B. SmithIII
    • 1
    • 2
  • Gary K. Beauchamp
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Monell Chemical Senses CenterPhiladelphiaUSA
  2. 2.Departments of Chemistry and Otorhinolaryngology and Human CommunicationUniversity of PennsylvaniaPhiladelphiaUSA

Personalised recommendations