There's a New Monkey in Town

Yep, this is the one. Note the distinct "saddle" markings on the back. (Wildlife Conservation Society)

Yes, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) announced a new monkey yesterday. While it's not the fabled Bigfoot or skunk ape that I know you all were clamoring for, it is a distinct Amazonian subspecies of saddleback tamarin. That's him in the illustration. Quite a handsome chap, yeah? He weighs in at less than 0.75 pounds and is only 9 inches tall.

The WCS researchers have dubbed the monkey Mura's saddleback tamarin (or Saguinus fuscicollis mura) named after the Mura Indians, the ethnic group native to the river basins that the monkey calls home. In publications on their find, the WCS stresses two important facts here. One, it's 2009 and we're still discovering new kinds of primate life in the secluded corners of the world (though scientists first glimpsed this little guy in 2007).

Secondly, and most importantly, the WCS points out that the paving of a massive Amazonian highway (along with a pipeline and a couple of dams planned for the region) threatens the survival of Mura's saddleback tam. Bring in roads and power, they argue, and you're likely to soon see the kind of rapid deforestation that could threaten any native life-form.

So there you have it: a new monkey, and already there's a risk we'll wipe it out. This is why we can't have nice things, people.

Thanks to HSW's own Rob Sheppe for bringing this to my attention! Disappear into the jungle at How Bigfoot Works How Deforestation Works How Electricity Works How Rainforests Work How could a tribe remain undiscovered in the Amazon in the 21st century?

About the Author: Robert Lamb spent his childhood reading books and staring into the woods — first in Newfoundland, Canada and then in rural Tennessee. There was also a long stretch in which he was terrified of alien abduction. He earned a degree in creative writing. He taught high school and then attended journalism school. He wrote for the smallest of small-town newspapers before finally becoming a full-time science writer and podcaster. He’s currently a senior writer at HowStuffWorks and has co-hosted the science podcast Stuff to Blow Your Mind since its inception in 2010. In his spare time, he enjoys traveling with his wife Bonnie, discussing dinosaurs with his son Bastian and crafting the occasional work of fiction.