First News - - Your News - by Gianni Mura

THERE has re­cently been a dis­cov­ery of a new species of ape, the Sky­walker hoolock gib­bon.

The name was given to this ape be­cause the new Star Wars film had just come out and the sci­en­tists who dis­cov­ered it were mas­sive fans.

Dr Sam Tur­vey from the Zoo­log­i­cal So­ci­ety of Lon­don was part of the team study­ing the apes. He said: “In this area, so many species have de­clined or gone ex­tinct be­cause of habi­tat loss, hunt­ing and gen­eral hu­man over­pop­u­la­tion. So it’s an ab­so­lute priv­i­lege to see some­thing as special and as rare as a gib­bon in a canopy in a Chi­nese rain­for­est, and es­pe­cially when it turns out that the gib­bons are ac­tu­ally a new species pre­vi­ously un­recog­nised by sci­ence.”

Hoolock gib­bons are found in Bangladesh, In­dia, China and Myan­mar. They spend most of their time liv­ing in the tree­tops, swing­ing through the forests with their fore­limbs, and rarely spend­ing any time on the ground.

But a re­search team started to sus­pect that the an­i­mals they were study­ing in China’s Yun­nan Province were un­usual com­pared to nor­mal-look­ing hoolock gib­bons.

All hoolock gib­bons have white eye­brows, but these had cer­tain facial pat­terns that dis­tin­guished them from oth­ers. Their mat­ing calls are also dif­fer­ent from reg­u­lar hoolock gib­bons, mak­ing them a new species – the Sky­walker hoolock gib­bon!

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