Posted by: Loren Coleman on May 11th, 2006
Reuters is reporting today that a newly discovered primate is actually a new genus, not a new species, in dispatches such as this one: "New monkey species is more unique than thought".
The report says, in part:
The new monkey, at first called the highland mangabey but now known as kipunji, is more closely related to baboons than to mangabey monkeys, but in fact deserves its own genus and species classification, the researchers reported in the journal Science. So they have re-named it Rungwecebus kipunji, and it is the first new genus of a living primate from Africa to be identified in 83 years.
In May 2005, this then-reported new species of monkey was found in Tanzania by two separate teams of researchers working hundreds of miles apart. At the time, it was being called the highland mangabey, and given the scientific name Lophocebus kipunji. It was allegedly the first "new species" of monkey identified in the African rainforests in 20 years.
This new primate is a medium-sized monkey, about 3 feet tall with a long tail, long brown fur, a black face, hands and feet. Adults make a distinctive, loud, low-pitched "honk-bark" call. Fewer than a thousand of the animals in existence live in mountainside trees at elevations of up to 8,000 feet, reported the journal Science last year.