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New species of primate discovered in Burma

This is what the ‘new’ species of primate found in the forests of central Burma looks like.


Scientists have identified a new kind of primate that lives in the woods of downtown BurmaHis face framed by a mass of gray hair.

It was baptized Popa langur and has been around for at least a million years, according to a study that details the finding, published Wednesday in Zoological Research.

After a long investigation, the experts of the German Primate Center (DPZ) and the NGO Fauna and Flora International (FFI) identified this small primate, whose body measures between 50 and 60 centimeters.

I know is about a species from “langur” (Trachypithecus, according to its scientific name), an endemic monkey of the Indian subcontinent and Southeast Asia.

It is named for Mount Popa, a sacred site built on an ancient volcano in central Burma. This is where the largest group of the species has been found, with around a hundred individuals.

Three other groups of “Trachypithecus popa” have been identified, all in central Burma, for a total of between 200 and 250 individuals.

Hardly identified, the Popa langur is already threatened with extinction, “warned Frank Momberg, one of the FFI researchers, quoted in a statement.

The specificity of this new species has been verified by comparing the DNA extracted from excrement from different populations of Trachypithecus, wild or in captivity, and historical specimens preserved in museums in various countries.

Finally “the analysis of DNA from a specimen collected for the Natural History Museum in London more than 100 years ago was what allowed the description of this new species, “which would have separated from other langurs around a million years ago, said Christian Roos, a researcher at DPZ.

It is distinguished by its color, the length of the tail and the skull size, according to the researchers.

The FFI and others will carry out further studies on the ground and take urgent protective measures to preserve the langurs from extinction, “said primatologist Ngwe Lwin, of the Burmese project of the NGO.

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