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Press Release 05-081
New Primate Discovered in Mountain Forests of Tanzania

"Highland mangabey" is first African monkey to be described in more than two decades

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Full-body view of Lophocebus kipunji.

Full-body view of Lophocebus kipunji (Ehardt et al. 2005 sp. nov.). Note the animal's long fur, coat color, lighter area on chest and distal tail and characteristic tail carriage. The artist's reconstruction was drawn from research video taken by C. L. Ehardt in Tanzania in the Ndundulu Forest of the Udzungwa Mountains and in the Southern Highlands.

Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation


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Video of highland mangabey in its native habitat

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Video depicting the highland mangabey in its native Tanzanian forest habitat.

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Credit: Carolyn Ehardt, University of Georgia

 

Africa's newly discovered species of monkey, the highland mangabey, Lophocebus kipunji

Africa's newly discovered species of monkey, the highland mangabey, Lophocebus kipunji. Note the characteristic broad, upright crest on the animal's head and non-contrasting eyelids. The artist's reconstruction is drawn from research video taken by C. L. Ehardt in Tanzania in the Ndundulu Forest of the Udzungwa Mountains and in the Southern Highlands.

Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation


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Map shows locations where researchers have spotted the highland mangabey.

The map shows locations where researchers spotted the highland mangabey. The lowermost tag marks the Southern Highlands. The uppermost tag marks the Ndundulu Forest.

Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation


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Researchers have yet to fully agree on how to classify all mangabey species

Researchers have yet to fully agree on how to classify all mangabey species, while mangabeys as a whole face such threats as habitat destruction and the bushmeat trade. Because researchers do not have enough information on some animals to even assess how threatened they are, the least known may be the most at risk.

The newly discovered, and perhaps most critically endangered, highland mangabey is in the genus Lophocebus as are two well-established mangabey species, Lophocebus albigena and Lophocebus aterrimus. Lophocebus is genetically linked to baboons and geladas. The mangabey genus Cercocebus is genetically linked to mandrills and includes the Sanje mangabey, one of the 25 most endangered primates in the world, found in the same mountains as the newly discovered highland mangabey. Effective conservation may rest on this type of fundamental genetic and ecological research and the monitoring of biodiversity in some of the world's most threatened ecosystems.



Credit: Zina Deretsky, National Science Foundation


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