The Mandrill, Ugliest of the Monkey Tribe, from Brehm’s Life of Animals, 1896.
“With the right that we call the Guereza the most beautiful of Monkeys, we may also call the Mandrill, Cynocephalus mormon, the ugliest. In mature age he is a hideous beast in every respect and his moral nature completely harmonizes with his physical characteristics.”
“The body is very strong, bordering on clumsiness, the head is horrid, the teeth are formidable, the fur is rough, the color of the hairless spots vivid and repulsive. Every hair is black and olive green, giving the fur on the upper part of the body the appearance of a dark brown tinge washed over with green, on the breast the hair is yellowish, lower down whitish, on the sides light brown; the beard is of a lemon yellow; the hands and ears are black; the nose and the immediate surroundings vermilion; the swellings on both its sides a bright blue, while the furrows in them are black. The callosities are blue and red. The usual height attained males is a little over three feet.”
“It is astonishing that we do not know about the life in the wild state of these Monkeys, specimens of which have so often been captured. [The Mandrill is] native to Upper Guinea. They are said to live in troops in the mountain forests, partly on rocks, partly in trees, and to often visit and devastate adjoining fields of grain. They are also said to enter the villages in the absence of the Men and ill treat the Women and Children. The natives fear the Mandrill more than the Lion, never enter into a fight with him and shun the woods where this Monkey lives, except when a large and well armed number of them engage in a regular crusade against him.”
So much for Dr. Brehms’ Nineteenth Century views.
The Mandrill (Mandrillus sphinx) is a primate of the Old World monkey family, closely related to the baboons. It is found in southern Cameroon and Gabon. Mandrills mostly live in tropical forests, with an omnivorous diet consisting mostly of fruits and insects. Their (wholly intraspecific!) mating season is from June to October.
You can see them at the Bronx Zoo’s “Congo Gorilla Forest,” but they are not always visible in their part of the exhibit.