A team of scientists and conservationists discovered a new species of monkey while on an expedition through the Amazon earlier this week.
The monkey closely resembles the local titi monkey, while other features make it quite different. So different, in fact, that it is completely unlike any other documented primate.
Scientists are now studying the new animal and record all of its characteristics.
The team was traipsing through mid-western Brazil when they came across the new monkey. It has been dubbed as a type of titi, or Callicebus, and brought to researchers at the Emilio Goeldi Museum in the state of Para.
The new titi has features on its head and tail that they’ve never seen before of titis in the same area. The area, specifically, was between the Guariba River and the Roosevelt River in the northestern part of Mato Grosso, Brazil.
During the expedition, which took 20 days in total during December 2010, the researchers explored four different protected areas of the Guariba-Roosevelt Extractive Resrve, as well as the Tucuma State Park, and the Roosevelt River and Madeirinha River.
The group discovered forty-eight specifies of mammals in total, including aramadillos, anteaters, deer, monkeys, and others. Bird specie discoveries topped 313, including some that were only previously seen in other South American countries. They also turned up another new possible species of fish, including a catfish, tetra, and a piaus.
Among the threatened species were a giant anteater, giant armadillio, giant otter, jaguar, and ocelot.
The scientist who made the discovery, Julio Dalponte, officially handed over the specimen to the museum.
“By integrating this animal to a reputable collection such as that of the Goeldi museum we have taken an important step towards gaining better knowledge of the fauna in the northwest Mato Grosso region which is still a puzzle with many pieces missing”, Mr Dalponte explained in a statement.
The discovery of the new species increases the potential biodiversity of the northwest of Mato Grosso and the conservation in the area. He elaborated, “We do have some information on Protected Areas surrounding this region but little information on this part of the State itself. That means we must work to complete this map and fill in the gaps in our information on the region.”
The monkey sported a ginger-coloured beard with a bright red tail. The beard colour is common to titi monkeys, all of which are known for their bright or vivid facial hair. It isn’t too surprising of the new discovery: there are 28 types of titi monkeys; 25 of which have been found in the last 40 years. However, finding a completely new species is still very rare.
This is the second titi monkey to be found in the last three years; in 2008 the Caquetá titi was discovered in the Colombian Amazon.
The new titi will be the main part of studies that have been designed to provide a detailed description of its characteristics to mammalian zoology experts and primatologists worldwide, according to the WWF.
The studies will go on over the next six months. This will be followed by publications in about a year’s time.