It’s kind of hard to believe that a monkey that sneezes when it rains could have remained unknown until now, but apparently the Burmese snub-nosed monkey Rhinopithecus strykeri is new to scientists, if not hunters. BBC News reports:
A new species of monkey with unusual upturned nostrils has been discovered in north eastern Myanmar.
Scientists surveying in the area initially identified the so-called snub-nosed monkey from skin and skulls obtained from local hunters. A small population was found separated from the habitat of other species of snub-nosed monkeys by the Mekong and Salween rivers. The total population has been estimated at just 260-330 individuals.
A team of Burmese and international primatologists identified the new species of snub-nosed monkey during this year’s Myanmar Primate Conservation Program. Local hunters reported the presence of a monkey which did not match any description of species previously identified in the area.
After further investigation in the north eastern state of Kachin, experts found a small population of previously undiscovered black monkeys with white ear tufts and chin beards, prominent lips and wide upturned nostrils… Evidence from hunters also suggested that the monkeys were particularly easy to find in the rain. The monkeys allegedly sneeze audibly when rainwater gets in their noses and local people said they could be found with their heads tucked between their knees on rainy days.
Based on direct observations and evidence from local people, researchers estimated the total population of R. strykeri to be 260-330 individuals…
[continues at BBC News]