False Potto, Pseudopotto martini

The false potto (Pseudopotto martini) is a primate that is thought to occur in Equatorial Africa. It is the only species classified within the genus Pseudopotto and has been studied using only the skeletal remains of two specimens. These were previously classified with the potto (Perodicticus potto) but were found to have enough distinctions to be classified as a species, although some argue that it could actually part of the West African potto species. Currently, the false potto is listed with the potto on the IUCN Red List, because there is not enough information regarding its range, population, and other factors to give it a separate status.

One of the false potto specimens that were studied in 1996 includes a female that resided at the Zürich Zoo, which was chosen to be the holotype of the species. This specimen consists of a full skeleton that displays evidence of periodontitis and  osteoporosis, which are common in zoo animals. The second specimen studied was the skull of a young male captured from the wild. Both of the specimens were found to be physically similar to potto species and other members of the Lorisidae family, but several differences were noted. These included a longer tail, differences in the wrist and elbow areas of the arms, a varied placement of the depression in the skull known as the lacrimal fossa, and a different tooth structure, although captive individuals can have different teeth due to their captivity.

Image Caption: Potto – Perodicticus potto en at Cincinnati Zoo. Credit: Ltshears/Wikipedia (CC BY 3.0)