New species of monkey identified in Africa
A new species of monkey has been identified in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Called the lesula, it's only the second time in 28 years that a new monkey species has been identified in Africa.
- A new species of monkey called the lesula (scientific name Cercopithecus lomamiensis), has been identified in Africa.
According to The Guardian, the discovery came about when John and Terese Hart from Yale University first saw a young female lesula being kept at the home of an elementary school director in the Democratic Republic of Congo in 2007.
The lesula looks similar to the owl-faced monkey, but genetic testing confirmed that it is a distinct species.
"This was a totally unexpected find, and we knew we had something unusual and possibly unknown when we first saw the animal. But it was not until we had the genetic and morphological analyses of our collaborating team that we knew we really had a new species," the Harts told the Guardian.
Since then, other wild lesula have been spotted in a remote central area of the DRC. These monkeys live in small groups of one to five and feed on fruits, flower buds and vegetation. Their habitat is limited to roughly 16,834 square kilometres of lowland rainforest (or 6,500 square miles) and is sparsely populated, but researchers warn that the monkeys are vulnerable to extinction because of hunters looking for bush meat.
The Harts published their study in the PLOS ONE journal, available online.
It didn't take long for Twitter users to weigh in.
- Others found the monkey frightening, despite the fact the lesula is described as shy.
- Others compared the new monkey to the iPhone 5 launch on Sept 12.
- And it didn't take long for Twitter users to draw comparisons between the new species of monkey and a certain famous fresco. Even The Sun tabloid weighed in.
- Or something a little deeper.
- Then came the inevitable "who-does-this-monkey-look-like?" comparisons.