Tim Davenport/ WCS
Scientists think there may be fewer than 1,000 highland mangabey monkeys left in existence.
Copyright Tim Davenport/WCS
Highland mangabeys occur as high as 8,000 feet, where temperatures frequently drop below freezing; scientists speculate their long coats are probably an adaptation to the cold.
Two teams of scientists, working more than 230 miles apart, have discovered a new monkey species in Tanzania. The highland mangabey is the first new monkey species to be discovered in Africa in 20 years.
About three feet long, the monkey is a tree dweller. It has long, brown fur, a long pointy muzzle, an off-white belly and tail, a crest of hair on its forehead and a distinctive call that scientists have dubbed a "honk bark." It was first spotted on the flanks of the 10,000-foot volcano Mount Rungwe and in the adjoining Kitulo National Park by biologists from the Wildlife Conservation Society.
Some months later, a separate team of researchers from the University of Georgia spotted the same species in Tanzania's Ndundulu Forest Reserve. The researchers estimate that fewer than 1,000 of these animals are left on earth. The two teams report their findings jointly in the current issue of the journal Science.
"I still think — and this shows it — there's a lot to find out there," says Dr. Tim Davenport of the Wildlife Conservation Society. "There are a lot of areas of Africa that have not been looked at closely."