What The Lion King Gets Wrong About Rafiki
Updated: Jul 31, 2019
The mandrill is quite a majestic animal. According to Charles Darwin, “no other member in the whole class of mammals is colored in so extraordinary a manner as the adult male mandrills”. No wonder The Lion King cast Rafiki front and center.
Yeah that's right - Rafiki's a mandrill, not a baboon, you baboons. Although they may look similar, they belong to a different genus. (What's a genus? Brush up on your bio and enjoy a blast from the past.)
As often happens in nature, the male mandrill is the more colorful and ornamented sex. Male mandrills have a striking red nose with blue ridges on either side. They even have a rear end to match, if you're into that kind of thing. Need proof? Here's a video of a mandrill antagonizing a toddler - with its butt. It's everything.
These bright colors serve a role outside of just looking good. The most brightly colored male is regarded as alpha male and is charged with protecting a group of females. Mandrills are polygamous, meaning each male mates with many females. Only the alpha male can get down with his group of female friends. Males with dull noses can never be alpha male or bring up offspring.
Who knew mandrills had a such a fetish for noses!
Unfortunately, the mandrill population has been declining and is now considered vulnerable. Their bright colors make them easily spotted by hunters. Their habitat is also being destroyed by deforestation of the tropical rainforests in Africa. Save the trees and protect nature’s beauty!
Learn something? Read more of Schnozmopolitan to stay in the nose.
Oh, and check out HALE if your nose sucks (or rather, doesn't) and you want to breathe better throughout the day, overnight, and during exercise.