July 14, 2009

New monkey subspecies found in Brazil

The Wildlife Conservation Society says a new subspecies of monkey has been discovered in a remote region of the Amazon in Brazil.

The organization said the monkey is related to saddleback tamarins, which include several species of monkeys known for their distinctively marked backs. The new subspecies was first seen by scientists on a 2007 expedition into the state of Amazonas in northwestern Brazil.

Researchers have dubbed the monkey Mura's saddleback tamarin (saguinus fuscicollis mura) after the Mura Indians, the ethnic group of Amerindians of the Purus and Madeira river basins where the monkey lives.

Biologists said the monkey is mostly gray and dark brown in color, with a distinctly mottled saddle. It weighs less than three-quarters of a pound and is 9 inches tall with a 12.6-inch tail.

This newly described monkey shows that even today there are still major wildlife discoveries to be made, said the study's lead author, Fabio Rohe of the Wildlife Conservation Society. This discovery should serve as a wake-up call that there is still so much to learn from the world's wild places, yet humans continue to threaten these areas with destruction.

The discovery was reported in the June online edition of the International Journal of Primatology.