New tarsier species discovered in Indonesia

This video is called BBC Wild Nature: Unique Sulawesi Animals – Indonesian Fire Islands.

From New Scientist:

Zoologger: A primate with eyes bigger than its brains

* Updated 16:31 17 November 2010 by Michael Marshall

Species: Tarsius wallacei

Habitat: two areas in the central region of the island of Sulawesi, Indonesia

Look into the wide eyes of a tarsier and you are looking into the eyes of a long-lost relative. These peculiar primates are some of the most primitive alive, and as a result they offer hints about our ancestors.

There are at least seven species of tarsier, but there may well be others that we have not yet recognised. In 2008 the tiny pygmy tarsier, long thought to be extinct, was rediscovered on the Indonesian island of Sulawesi.

Stefan Merker of Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Germany, and colleagues have now found a wholly new species, living in two small areas of Sulawesi. They have named it Wallace’s tarsier, after Alfred Russel Wallace, the co-discoverer of natural selection.

The new species looks pretty similar to other Sulawesi tarsiers, but differs genetically in many ways. It also has a characteristic copper-coloured throat, and males and females sing unique songs to each other.

The other tarsier species on Sulawesi are under threat because of their small and fragmented habitats. Merker says the Wallace’s tarsier faces the same threats.

Scientists have discovered that tarsiers, a group of tiny primates native to Southesast Asia, produce ultrasonic calls that are well beyond the audible range of humans: here.

4 thoughts on “New tarsier species discovered in Indonesia

  1. Pingback: Shrew discoveries in Indonesia | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  2. Pingback: New Philippine tarsier discovery | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  3. Pingback: How primates got fingernails, new research | Dear Kitty. Some blog

  4. Pingback: How tarsiers see, virtual reality | Dear Kitty. Some blog

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