This is a Spanish video on the new monkey species discovery.
I have to thank the newly discovered owl faced monkey species from Congo again.
This is a Spanish video on the new monkey species discovery.
I have to thank the newly discovered owl faced monkey species from Congo again.
Yesterday saw a new record number of visitors at this blog, at least since the move to WordPress.
For the first time, over 1,000 a day: 1,064.
For the new record, I have to thank a new owl faced monkey species, recently discovered in Congo. Fortunately, it is not extinct yet, and I hope that it will not become so.
This video is on the monkey discovery.
From the Public Library of Science:
Researchers have identified a new species of African monkey, locally known as the lesula, described in the Sep. 12 issue of the open access journal PLOS ONE. This is only the second new species of African monkey discovered in the last 28 years.
The first lesula found was a young captive animal seen in 2007 in a school director’s compound in the town of Opala in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The young monkey bore a resemblance to the owl faced monkey, but its coloration was unlike that of any other known species. Over the following three years, the study authors located additional lesula in the wild, determined its genetic and anatomical distinctiveness, and made initial observations of its behavior and ecology, as reported in the PLOS ONE paper.
The new species’ range covers about 6,500 square miles in central DRC, in what was one of Congo’s last biologically unexplored forest blocks. Although its range is remote and only lightly settled at present, the lesula is threatened by local bush meat hunting. “The challenge for conservation now in Congo is to intervene before losses become definitive,” say John and Terese Hart, who led the project. “Species with small ranges like the lesula can move from vulnerable to seriously endangered over the course of just a few years.”
This video from Peru is called Yellow-tailed Woolly Monkey in La Esperanza.
From daily The Independent in Britain:
Crisis in the cloudforest for woolly wonders
Monday 10 September 2012
Homero Francisco Lopéz grimaces as he recalls how his wife prepared the carcass of the monkey he had shot, serving him a bowl of thick stew, complete with chunks of cassava and a tiny hand for him to gnaw on. “It was normal here,” he says. “Everyone did it. We didn’t realise how few there were.”
Now Mr Lopéz, a 58-year-old subsistence farmer, has become one of the strongest voices in his village of Corosha, in the heart of the precipitous cloudforests of northern Peru, in defence of the yellow-tailed woolly monkey, Oreonax flavicauda, one of the world’s most threatened primates.
“This monkey is the only one of its kind,” he says with the zeal of a convert. “It is a beautiful animal and thinking about the future without it is just too sad.”
No one knows for sure but there are now thought to be fewer than 1,000 yellow-tailed woolly monkeys in the wild, all living in a thin band of chilly, damp forest in this corner of Peru, between 5,000ft and 9,000ft above sea level as the Andes sweep down into the Amazon. Yet many of those individuals live in small, increasingly inbred groups of a dozen or fewer, stranded in shrinking patches of forest as peasant farmers clear the improbably steep slopes to plant coffee, beans and other crops. According to Fanny Cornejo, one of a tiny handful of local primatologists, that lack of genetic variety is now a major threat to the species, leaving it more vulnerable to disease.
Meanwhile, despite the best efforts of Mr Lopéz and Ms Cornejo, many impoverished locals continue to hunt the monkey, prized for its meat and its thick, unusually soft fur. Poachers prefer to target nursing mothers as they can also sell the babies as pets.
The monkey’s long breeding cycle and inquisitive nature have added to its vulnerability. They are drawn to the sound of gunfire and often stay around to see what is happening when one of their group has been shot.
The species is classified as “critically endangered” by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the most threatened category for species that still exist in the wild. It is also listed as among the 25 most threatened of the nearly 670 primate species.
“It should be OK for the next two decades but after that it is impossible to say,” says Russ Mittermeier, who has chaired the IUCN’s primate specialist group for more than 30 years. “We have a serious challenge ahead of us.”
The yellow-tailed woolly monkey has always been extremely rare. It was first recorded in 1812 by the great German explorer Alexander von Humboldt. Yet he never actually witnessed a live animal. Instead, he saw a saddlecloth made from a fine, mahogany-coloured fur.
Despite the name, the monkey’s tail is the same colour as the rest of its body. What is yellow is a large tuft of fur that adults of both sexes have covering their genitals. The species was actually thought to have been extinct for most of the 20th century until an expedition led by Mr Mittermeier, now the head of Conservation International, rediscovered it in 1974.
The fact that the species even survives at all may be thanks to its difficult natural habitat, which could hardly be less accessible to its only predator, humans. Reaching the group Ms Cornejo studies involves a three-hour uphill scramble in deep mud through thick, sodden forest. Even indigenous peoples rarely stray here.
But that is changing rapidly. A massive influx of migrants from the nearby mountain region of Cajamarca, fuelled in part by mining companies buying up peasants’ land there, is putting an unprecedented strain on the area around Corosha.
“There were just 20 families here when I was growing up,” says Mr Lopéz. “Now there are 200 and many of them don’t respect the community’s decision to conserve our natural resources.”
With the support of Conservation International, Corosha has now established the 5,600-acre Hierba Buena-Allpayacu Community Conservation Area, with the twin goals of protecting the forest’s headwaters and the yellow-tailed woolly monkey’s habitat. The village is also building a lodge to cater for a growing stream of Peruvian and international tourists.
Yet conflicts within the community, between the newcomers and families who have lived here for many generations, are becoming increasingly common. The new migrants, unfamiliar with the traditional, sustainable horticultural techniques, tend to clear forest to make way for their crops and livestock whereas the locals rotate their subsistence plots between existing gaps in the forest.
The destruction is at its most intense in a supposed nature reserve, the Alto Mayo Protected Forest, which straddles a low-lying stretch of the Andes southwest of Corosha. The regional government has put a road through the park, while poachers and land-squatters even live in the heart of the reserve.
“The solution is not more and more park guards but education, so that the local population realises how important the forest is, that it provides them with water, and houses so many different species,” insists Gustavo Montoya, the reserve director.
Mr Mittermeier is now calling for a concerted effort to educate locals about the monkey and even encourage them to identify with it. “You have to get the communities excited about this magnificent species,” he said. “It is the only way. They must find a way to coexist with it and become invested in its survival.”
Although no primates became extinct in the 20th century, many of the order’s nearly 700 species face urgent threats today. The IUCN’s primate specialist group say that more than 70 per cent of Asian primates are threatened with extinction, as are all gibbon species and the four great apes: gorillas, chimpanzees, orang utans and bonobos. The total global budget dedicated to primate conservation is about $10m (£6.25m). About 90 per cent of that is dedicated to the great apes, leaving just $1m worldwide for other species. The IUCN estimates that a budget of just $100m could save 98 per cent of all primate species.
Patas monkeys are considered the fastest primate on Earth. With slender bodies and long limbs they can achieve top speeds of 55km/h whereas the finest Olympic 100 metre champions can only manage 36-37km/h. These bursts of speed are essential for a life spent on the ground and are used to evade predators such as lions and hyenas: here.
This video is called Dr. Jane Goodall: Primatology & The Leakey Foundation.
From PLoS ONE:
Is Primatology an Equal-Opportunity Discipline?
Elsa Addessi, Marta Borgi, Elisabetta Palagi
The proportion of women occupying academic positions in biological sciences has increased in the past few decades, but women are still under-represented in senior academic ranks compared to their male colleagues.
Primatology has been often singled out as a model of “equal-opportunity” discipline because of the common perception that women are more represented in Primatology than in similar fields. But is this indeed true? Here we show that, although in the past 15 years the proportion of female primatologists increased from the 38% of the early 1990s to the 57% of 2008, Primatology is far from being an “equal-opportunity” discipline, and suffers the phenomenon of “glass ceiling” as all the other scientific disciplines examined so far. In fact, even if Primatology does attract more female students than males, at the full professor level male members significantly outnumber females. Moreover, regardless of position, IPS male members publish significantly more than their female colleagues.
Furthermore, when analyzing gender difference in scientific productivity in relation to the name order in the publications, it emerged that the scientific achievements of female primatologists (in terms of number and type of publications) do not always match their professional achievements (in terms of academic position). However, the gender difference in the IPS members’ number of publications does not correspond to a similar difference in their scientific impact (as measured by their H index), which may indicate that female primatologists’ fewer articles are of higher impact than those of their male colleagues.
Jane Goodall film trailer: here.
This video says about itself:
The World Conservation Union (IUCN), widely considered to be the most objective and authoritative system for classifying species in terms of the risk of extinction, lists 3071 species (1528 animals, 1541 plants, 2 fungi) of the world as being critically endangered in their 2006 Red List. Additionally 254 subspecies or varieties are considered critically endangered, and 30 subpopulations or stocks have been assessed with a critical risk of (local) extinction.
The snub-nosed monkeys (shown on this video) are a group of Old World monkeys and make up the entirety of the genus Rhinopithecus. The genus occurs rarely, and needs much more research. Some taxonomists group snub-nosed monkeys together with the Pygathrix genus. Snub-nosed monkeys live in Asia, with a range covering southern China (especially Tibet, Sichuan, Yunnan, and Guizhou) as well as the northern part of Vietnam.
From the BBC:
New species of snub-nosed monkey discovered in Myanmar
By Ella Davies
Earth News reporter
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.
Asia-Pacific Development Director for Fauna & Flora International (FFI) Frank Momberg attended the expedition that discovered the species.
“It is absolutely exceptional to discover a new species of primate, and especially discovering a new species of snub-nosed monkey is very rare indeed,” he told the BBC.
“With the new snub-nosed monkey Myanmar has now 15 species of primates, which underlines the importance of Myanmar for biodiversity conservation,” said Mr Momberg.
The new species has been named the Burmese snub-nosed monkey (Rhinopithecus strykeri).
In research published in the American Journal of Primatology, scientists also describe the monkey as having a relatively long tail at 140% of its body size.
Until now snub-nosed monkeys were thought to live only in China and Vietnam, not Myanmar.
The species discovered this year was separated from the habitats of its nearest neighbours, the Yunnan snub-nosed monkey (R. bieti), by the Mekong and Salween rivers.
Researchers pointed to this isolation as evidence that the monkeys are a separate species rather than simply an existing species with a different colouration.
Although new to science, interviews with local people in the area revealed that they knew the Burmese species as mey nwoah, “monkey with an upturned face.”
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.
Hunting and habitat destruction are the key threats facing global populations.
The global charity Fauna & Flora International has committed to taking immediate conservation action to protect the newly discovered species.
Community action and appeals to the logging industry to protect the monkey’s habitat have been intitiated.
“If we can convince local people to stop hunting the snub-nosed monkey through creating local pride, develop community-based patrolling and monitoring, and provide alternative sources of livelihoods for forest dependent communities we can save [it] from extinction,” said Mr Momberg.
We describe a snub-nosed monkey that is new to science from the high altitudes of northeastern Kachin state, northeastern Myanmar, the Burmese snub-nosed monkey, Rhinopithecus strykeri sp. nov.: here.
The Nagoya biodiversity summit, a cynical fraud in global politics: here.
This video is called Primate Evolution and Human Disease.
From the American Museum of Natural History:
Big brains arose twice in higher primates
Large-brained simians of the New and Old Worlds independently arose from smaller-brained ancestors
After taking a fresh look at an old fossil, John Flynn, Frick Curator of Paleontology at the American Museum of Natural History, and colleagues determined that the brains of the ancestors of modern Neotropical primates were as small as those of their early fossil simian counterparts in the Old World. This means one of the hallmarks of primate biology, increased brain size, arose independently in isolated groups—the platyrrhines of the Americas and the catarrhines of Africa and Eurasia.
“Primatologists have long suspected that increased encephalization may have arisen at different points in the primate evolutionary tree, but this is the first clear demonstration of independent brain size increase in New and Old World anthropoids,” says Flynn of the paper that appeared in the Museum’s publication Novitates this June. Encephalization is the increase in brain size relative to body size. Animals with large encephalization quotients (E.Q.’s) are those with bigger brains relative to their body size in comparison to the average for an entire group. Most primates and dolphins have high E.Q.’s relative to other mammals, although some primates (especially apes and humans) have higher E.Q.’s than others.
At the heart of the new paper is the development of more accurate equations for estimating body size in platyrrhines, or New World “monkeys.” Most fossils are fragments of skulls or teeth so, to help in estimating their body size (and then E.Q.), Flynn and colleagues collected 80 measurements of the skulls, jaws, and teeth of 17 different species of living New World monkeys that ranged across the full spectrum of body sizes. This study is one of the first to estimate body size with platyrrhines instead of their better-studied counterparts from the Old World, and this detailed analysis uses new statistical approaches to tease out which characteristics correlate best with body size. The goal is to apply this equation to fossilized specimens.
Chilecebus, found high in the Andes and described by Flynn and collaborators in 1995 in Nature, is one such fossil. The skull dates to 20 million years ago and is the oldest and most complete well-dated primate skull from the New World. In the Novitates paper, Flynn and colleagues more accurately estimate that Chilecebus weighed about 583 grams and had an E.Q. of only 1.11—a much smaller relative brain size than any living New or Old World anthropoid, which have E.Q.’s ranging from 1.39-2.44 (and even higher for humans).
“The result is clear: early fossil members of both the New World and Old World anthropoid lineages had small brain sizes, thus the larger brain sizes seen in both groups today must have arisen independently,” says Flynn. “Documenting that large brains evolved separately several times within Primates will enhance understanding of the timing and pathways of brain expansion and its effects on skull growth and shape, and may lead to new insights into the genetic controls on encephalization.”
Eric Delson, the Chair of Anthropology at Lehman College, City University of New York and a Research Associate at the Museum, concurs. “This work confirms that brain size increase may be one of the common characteristics of all primates,” he says. “The relatively small brain of Chilecebus contrasts with that of the slightly younger (16.5 million years ago), larger brained fossil Killikaike found in Argentina and described two years ago. It is probable that brain size also increased independently in the lemurs of Madagascar, as well as in the apes (of which humans are the extreme case) and the cercopithecid monkeys of Africa and Asia.”
Video: Islands and Evolution: Macaque Monkeys of Sulawesi: here.
This video is called Japanese Snow Monkey in hot spring.
From The Scotsman:
Snow monkeys come in from the cold
A GROUP of exotic neighbours have moved in with Highland residents, breaking a 35-year tradition.
Twelve snow monkeys have found a new home at the Highland Wildlife Park at Kincraig, near Kingussie, which has previously only kept animals from Scotland’s past and present.
The monkeys, also known as Japanese macaques, are the first of a new range of species being brought in to boost visitor numbers.
The expansion of the collection will include animals from mountain and tundra habitats from around the world heading to Kincraig over the next three to five years, and it is hoped it will increase the number of visitors from 67,000 to 100,000.
David Windmill, the chief executive of the park’s owner, the Royal Zoological Society of Scotland, said: “Highland Wildlife Park has the potential to make a real difference in helping to preserve endangered species such as the Amur leopard, of which there are fewer than 50 remaining in the wild.
“It is an ideal and spacious environment for these species, and we hope to become involved in breeding programmes in the near future.”
Snow monkeys are native to northern Japan and are the most northerly-living primate. As the name suggests, they are used to the cold and can survive temperatures of below minus 15C.
European Arctic animals in Swiss zoo, video: here.
Barbary macaques: here.
July 2011. Recent video footage from a survey on a group of critically endangered Amur leopards in the Russian Far East has yielded unexpectedly positive results, giving evidence that some wild groups of the big cat are showing clear signs of a tendency towards population growth, says WWF Russia: here.
From Animal Science Blog:
Endangered Grey-Shanked Doucs in Vietnam
A team of researchers from WWF and Conservation International (CI) has discovered the world’s largest known population of grey-shanked doucs (Pygathrix cinerea), increasing chances that the Endangered monkey can be saved from extinction.
The grey-shanked douc is one of the world’s 25 most endangered primates and has only been recorded in the five central Vietnamese provinces of Quang Nam, Kon Tum, Quang Ngai, Binh Dinh, and Gia Lai. Fewer than 1,000 individuals are believed to still exist, and until now, only one other population with more than 100 animals was known.
“This is an exciting and important discovery because of the large size of the population,” said Barney Long, Central Truong Son Conservation Landscape Coordinator for WWF Greater Mekong – Vietnam Program. “It’s very rare to discover a population of this size with such high numbers in a small area, particularly for a species on the brink of extinction. This indicates that the population has not been impacted by hunting like all other known populations of the species”.