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Say hello to ‘lesula’, a new monkey species identified in remote part of Congo

September 14th, 2012

From Yale Environment 360

A team of scientists has identified a new species of monkeyin a remote area in the Democratic Republic of Congo, a discovery that researchers say confirms the remote African region as a biodiversity hotbed.

Lesula, a bare-faced monkey just identified as a new species. (Photo: Maurice Emetshu.)

After encountering one of the monkeys in captivity in a village, the researchers observed the animal, known locally as the “lesula,” in the wild and, after conducting DNA tests, confirmed that it is a unique species.

Scientists say the new species has a naked face and muzzle, a blond chin, a reddish lower back and tail, and a “brilliant blue” patch of skin in the buttocks and scrotum area. The monkey, which researchers named Cercopithecus lomamiensis, is just the second new species of African monkey identified in the past 28 years.

Researchers believe it was likely not identified by scientists earlier because of the remoteness of its 6,500-square-mile range.

“If we’re finding new species of primates, then who knows how many new species of small mammals or lizards or insects, just to name a few, might be out there,” said Eric Sargis, a professor at Yale University and one of the co-authors of the study. The findings are published in the journal PLoS ONE.



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