Rare Ape Species Discovered in Asia
A new species of ape was discovered by German scientists in the rainforests of southeastern Asia. It is a new species of crested gibbon, which is one of the most endangered primates globally.The newly discovered ape is the northern buff-cheeked gibbon (Nomascus annamensis). In the above photo the male is on the left and the female on the right.
Cristian Rooz, from the German Primate Centre said, “An analysis of the frequency and tempo of their calls, along with genetic research, show that this is, in fact, a new species.” He also noted their calls could be a precursor to the music made by people. (Source: Associated Press) You can hear an audio sample from the new gibbon.
Previously it was believed there were six crested gibbon species, but now it has been shown there are seven. The region where they were discovered is known for its biodiversity. In 2005, the Vietnamese Primate Journal published information on the discoveries of five different primate species there, including three lemurs, one macaque, and a managabey.
Unfortunately, crested gibbons are endangered and living in very small populations. For example, the Cao Vit Gibbon is believed to be down to 110 individuals. The main threat to them has been habitat loss, with some pressure from hunting. The Hainan gibbon is even rarer. Only about twenty are estimated to be alive, living on an island in China. It is the world’s rarest ape species.
Scientists do not know how many of the new northern buff-cheeked gibbons there are. “The crested gibbons are the most threatened group of primates and all species require urgent attention to save them from extinction,” said Dr Thomas Geissmann, a crested-gibbon expert. (Source: BBC)
Gibbons live in trees and eat fruits. They are known for their tremendous agility and acrobatics.
Image Credit: Tilo Nadler, Endangered Primate Center, Vietnam