Cool Science
Year of the Monkey

February 8, 2016

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Photo Credit: ©Daniel Ferraz

Happy Lunar New Year!

It's the Year of the Monkey. Only fitting then to celebrate with good news about monkeys. More specifically, the monkey pictured above—a northern muriqui or woolly spider monkey, the largest New World primate.

A group of scientists, supported by the Conservation Leadership Programme, recently discovered a whole new population of this critically endangered species on the western side of Brazil's Caparao National Park.

There are thought to be only about 1,000 northern muriquis left anywhere, so the researchers' finding of a healthy population numbering at least 50 is significant.

The muriqui was once thought to be just one species, but in the 1980s it was recognized as in fact two: the northern and the southern.

Hunting and habitat loss have wreaked havoc on the northern's populations.

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