Blog: Carlita the Croc

Leave no cheek unturned

A new type of monkey, the white-cheeked macaque, has been discovered in Tibet! How exciting!  It is always thrilling to hear that although humans think they know everything about everything, they are occasionally reminded that they are wrong.  Like, when they find a type of monkey that they have not described before. 
I actually prefer to say “have not described before” rather than “discover” because, often, someone or something knew it existed, even if science hasn’t defined it. 
Distinctive anatomy
Anyway, this monkey may have been missed by anthropologists and primatologist before because they look really similar to other monkeys in the area.  However, they do have some distinguishing features which include the long, white “whiskers” that cover their cheeks and chin, giving them their common name “white-cheeked macaque.”  They also have thick hair on their neck, a short tail, and a uniquely shaped…um…penis
That’s right, its penis gave it away.  Hey, anatomy is science, too!
DNA backup
Researchers are still waiting for genetic evidence to back up the case that this macaque monkey be classified as a new species.  But in the meantime, scientists are wasting no time getting a full understanding of how human activities might positively and negatively affect the survival of this newly “discovered” species.
Deciphering differences
To put you in the shoes of a primatologist, here is a picture of two different species of monkeys in the Tropic World Africa section at Brookfield Zoo.  One is a red-tailed guenon, the other is an Allen’s swamp monkey.  To the untrained eye, it might be difficult to immediately to tell the two apart, especially from afar.  Add in the fact that in some species of monkey males and females (and sometimes babies, too!) have different coloration due to sexual dimorphism, and who knows what’s what!  That is how wildlife researchers do…

Red-tail guenon
Red-tailed guenon

Allen's Swamp Monkey at Brookfield Zoo
Allen's swamp monkey

Posted: 4/20/2015 4:11:45 PM by Filed under: Allen's swamp monkey, new species, red-tailed guenon

Carlita the Croc

I'm Carlita the Croc, here to deliver my candid views on various topics, articles, news, and stories in conservation. For the latest news follow me on Twitter, for striking photos follow me on Instagram.


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