Saturday, January 30, 2016

Rhinopithecus Strykeri: The Monkey That Sneezes When it Rains

With all of the animal species on this planet that have been documented, it is sometimes hard to imagine that there are species out there that have yet to be studied, but there are. A group of biologists and primatologists has recently documented such a species. They published their findings in the American Journal of Primatology on October 26, 2010. The "new" species is a snub-nosed monkey they dubbed Rhinopithecus strykeri. This particular species has an interesting trait. The locals in Myanmar who are familiar with the monkey say it sneezes when it rains because the drops fall into its upturned nostrils. Unfortunately, this very trait makes the species easy to hunt.

Snub-nosed monkeys are typically found in China and Tibet. There are a handful of species, all with flat noses and wide faces. They have very prominent lips as well. All snub-nosed monkeys, including Rhinopithecus strykeri, are endangered species according to IUCN. Rhinopithecus strykeri is classified as critically endangered by the IUCN. This means that the population of these monkeys is at risk of reducing drastically within a mere three generations. Chances are they will become extinct without intervention.

Rhinopithecus strykeri is up to two feet tall, is almost covered in black fur and has a tail that is nearly one and a half times the length of its body. The skin around its nose and eyes is devoid of fur, revealing the pink skin underneath. The nose is virtually non-existent. There are simply two upturned nostrils. There is a white patch of fur beneath the lower lip, which is very thick. There are also white tufts of hair on the animal's ears and rump. This sneezing monkey's face is reminiscent of the Ewoks in Star Wars Episode VI.

The group of biologists and primatologists learned of the sneezing snub-nosed monkey when they were surveying gibbons in the Himalayas in northeastern Kachin State in the Republic of the Union of Myanmar in early 2010. Locals who hunt the animals showed them skulls and hides from the monkeys and told them of their interesting sneezing affliction. Intrigued by the information, they sought the animals and found them. Unfortunately, they also found that there are only an estimated 260-330 of these monkeys left. They are threatened by loggers, construction and hunters.


Live Science, Scientists discover monkey that sneezes when it rains, retrieved 10/29/10,

Viegas, Jennifer, Snub-Nosed Monkey Sneezes When it Rains, retrieved 10/29/10,

Gray, Louise, New species of monkey sneezes when it rains, retrieved 10/29/10,

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