Posted by: Loren Coleman on September 15th, 2012
The newest monkey to be discovered: Cercopithecus lomamiensis
Researchers have identified a new species of African monkey, locally known as the lesula, described in the September 12, 2012 issue of the open access journal PLOS ONE. This is only the second new species of African monkey discovered in the last 28 years.
The first lesula found was a young captive animal seen in 2007 in a school director’s compound in the town of Opala in the Democratic Republic of Congo. The young monkey bore a resemblance to the owl faced monkey, but its coloration was unlike that of any other known species.
Over the following three years, the study authors located additional lesula in the wild, determined its genetic and anatomical distinctiveness, and made initial observations of its behavior and ecology, as reported in the PLOS ONE paper.
The new species’ range covers about 6,500 square miles in central DRC, in what was one of Congo’s last biologically unexplored forest blocks. Although its range is remote and only lightly settled at present, the lesula is threatened by local bush meat hunting.
“The challenge for conservation now in Congo is to intervene before losses become definitive,” say John and Terese Hart, who led the project. “Species with small ranges like the lesula can move from vulnerable to seriously endangered over the course of just a few years.”
Hart JA, Detwiler KM, Gilbert CC, Burrell AS, Fuller JL, et al. (2012) Lesula: A New Species of Cercopithecus Monkey Endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo and Implications for Conservation of Congo’s Central Basin. PLOS ONE 7(9): e44271. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0044271
Public Library of Science.
A captive adult male Cercopithecus hamlyni, left, and an adult male Cercopithecus lomamiensis, the newly discovered species, right. (Public Library of Science)
The new species has a distinctive blue behind.
The area where this new monkey was found is unique for having some other “classic animals of discovery” familiar to cryptozoology, including okapi, Congo pheasant, and bonobo.
Loren Coleman is one of the world’s leading cryptozoologists, some say “the” leading. Certainly, he is acknowledged as the current living American researcher and writer who has most popularized cryptozoology in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. Starting his fieldwork and investigations in 1960, after traveling and trekking extensively in pursuit of cryptozoological mysteries, Coleman began writing to share his experiences in 1969. An honorary member of Ivan T. Sanderson’s Society for the Investigation of the Unexplained in the 1970s, Coleman has been bestowed with similar honorary memberships of the North Idaho College Cryptozoology Club in 1983, and in subsequent years, that of the British Columbia Scientific Cryptozoology Club, CryptoSafari International, and other international organizations. He was also a Life Member and Benefactor of the International Society of Cryptozoology (now-defunct). Loren Coleman’s daily blog, as a member of the Cryptomundo Team, served as an ongoing avenue of communication for the ever-growing body of cryptozoo news from 2005 through 2013.