Rants and Musings About Science

Monday, May 15, 2006

Shocked By Monkey


I love monkeys – definitely one of my favorite animals. I've always dreamed of having one as a pet (my Dad had one in college named 'Kong') – so when I read this announcement I thought it was really cool.

A new species of monkey, originally discovered a year ago by scientists from the Wildlife Conservation Society in New York, has been found to be unique enough that it deserves to be categorized as a new genus. The discovery was published in this week’s journal Science, as is said to be the first new genus of monkey discovered in 83 years (the last being Allen’s Swamp Monkey in 1923).

When the scientists examined the DNA of the monkey they knew they found a unique primate different from any other genus.

The new genus is called Rungwecebus, (pronounced rung-way-CEE-bus), and refers to Mt. Rungwe , in Tanzania (not Tasmania) where the monkey was first observed.

The monkey is called a Kipunji monkey. It is brown with a sort of mohawk hair-do, has long cheek whiskers, an off-white tummy and tail and is around three feet tall.

While it’s always pretty neat to discover a new species, attention to this find should be given more practical consideration. The scientists of the study stress that the monkey is already endangered and risks being wiped out by logging of their habitat. They believe that only 500 remain in the wild.

"It would be the ultimate irony to lose a species this unique so soon after we have discovered it," said primatologist Dr. John G. Robinson director of WCS's International Programs in the press release. "This is a world treasure and as such, we urge the world community to protect it."

8 Comments:

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3:04 PM

 

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