Two New Primate Species Discovered

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The adult female weighed about a pound and a half with a silvery body, a black furry forehead, a crown of silvery-brown, and bright red fluffy sideburns, beard and chest.

Van Roosmalen found the first specimen of the second species—Callicebus bernhardi—dead on the forest floor during a survey in 1998. Two live specimens of this monkey were found along the Rio Madeira and kept until they died last year.

Bernhardi monkeys are largely blackish-gray, with dark orange sideburns and chest. The tail is highlighted with a bright white tip.

Mittermeier and van Roosmalen named both of the new species—a privilege granted to the discoverers. Callicebus stephennashi is named for Stephen Nash, an artist at CI who has contributed to primate conservation though his scientific illustrations.

Callicebus bernhardi is named for the Netherlands' Prince Bernhard, who established the Order of the Golden Ark award to honor conservationists. Both van Roosmalen and Mittermeier have received the Golden Ark.

One of the best ways to find new species is to visit remote villages and check out local pets.

At an annual Indian festival called Quarup, which brings together about 17 Indian tribes, van Roosmalen and Mittermeier watch the wrestling matches, join the festivities and take a look at the village pets, which "gives a cross-section of the local fauna," says Mittermeier.

Often the scientists are able to obtain the pet or at least get directions to where the animal was found. When new species are brought hack to the center in Manaus they are kept in captivity and studied. When the specimen dies, Roosmalen has the skin and skeleton to give to a museum.

"In the last 15 years there has been a boom in the number of new primate discoveries—we now have very dedicated people, like Roosmalen, and we know a lot more about where to look," said Ken Glander, a primatologist at Duke University.

"What is startling is that there are still unexplored jungles on Earth that we know nothing about that are in danger of being destroyed before we know who or what is living there," said Rick Barongi, director of the Houston Zoo.

"These discoveries inspire the explorer in all of us," Barongi said. "To discover a mammal that has eluded identification until the 21st century is very exciting."

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