Scientists have discovered a new primate species and it is named after a “Star War Movie” character.
Scientists have concluded that the gibbon living in the tropical forests of south west China is a new primate species. They were studying this animals for some time. The newest research confirms it is different from all other gibbons in the world. The primates got the name the Skywalker hoolock gibbon. They got the name partly because the Chinese characters of its scientific name means “Heaven’s movement” but also because the scientists are big fans of Star Wars.
Dr Sam Turvey, from the Zoological Society of London, who was a part of the team studying the apes, says: “In this area, so many species declined or went extinct because of habitat loss, hunting and also general human overpopulation”.
“So it is an absolute privilege to see something as special and as rare as this gibbon in a canopy in a Chinese rainforest. Especially when it turns out that the gibbons are actually a new primate species”.
The Hoolock gibbons live in Bangladesh, India, China and Myanmar too. They spend most of their life living in the treetops, swinging through the forests with their forelimbs. They rarely spend any of their time on the ground. But the research team started to suspect that the animals they were studying in China’s Yunnan Province were a bit unusual. All hoolock gibbons have white eyebrows and also some have white beards, but these Chinese primates markings were different.
Their songs, which they use to bond with other gibbons and to mark out their territory, were also very unusual. So when the team carried out a full physical and genetic comparison with other gibbons. Then they actually realized that the primates were indeed a different species.
They gave them the scientific name of Hoolock tianxing. Their common name is now the Skywalker hoolock gibbon, thanks to the scientists’ taste in movies.