Deep in the vast Amazon
jungle, scientists have discovered two new species
of titi monkeys. One was first observed in the forest by noted primatologist Marc van Roosmalen of the National Institute for Amazon Research in Manaus, Brazil
. The other was found by fishermen, who brought it to van Roosmalen's Breeding Center for Endangered Amazonian Wildlife.
Scientists discover new species virtually every day, but it is unusual to find new mammals, let alone representatives of our closest living relatives. The monkeys are the latest of 24 new species recorded since 1990, 13 of which were found in Brazil.
"Primates have been very well-studied for the past four decades, so we are surprised by the discovery of even more species," says CI President Russell Mittermeier. "It proves how much we still need to learn about biological diversity, especially in the tropical rain forests."
Titi monkeys are roughly the size of house cats, monogamous (unusual for primates
) and found throughout a large part the Amazon Basin. The first monkey discovered was named Callicebus bernhardi
, in honor of Prince Bernhard of the Netherlands for his worldwide wildlife conservation efforts. The second, Callicebus stephennashi
, was named after Stephen Nash of the State University of New York, Stony Brook, who also is CI's longtime scientific illustrator. The new species are described by van Roosmalen, his son, Tomas van Roosmalen, and Mittermeier in a recent supplement of the journal Neotropical Primates