Indian Scientists Discover a New Primate Species

A previously unknown macaque species turns up in the Himalayas

02-01-2005 // Heidi Ridgley

IT'S NOT UNUSUAL for scientists to turn up a previously unknown species of insect, but a new primate species is a shocker. Found in the Himalayas by Indian scientists, the newly named Macaca munzala, or Arunachal monkey, is the first macaque identified since the discovery of the Pagai macaque in Indonesia in 1903.

Arunachal monkeys differ from other macaques mostly because they sport shorter tails. Researchers, who counted 14 troops—most with 10 animals or less—do not know how many of the monkeys exist in the wild or whether they are threatened.

Although the primate is new to science, people in the area have long known of the species. Its scientific name honors the vernacular name mun zala, which means “deep forest monkey.”

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