Oct 292015

Syntypes of Golden-crowned langurs (Presbytis johnaspinalli). Nardelli writes that Presbytis johnaspinalli is “essentially distinguished from other known Presbytis on the basis of pelage colour and morphology; orange golden-yellowish hair around the face, on the chest and abdomen; black on upper parts, limbs and tail.” Courtesy of Nardelli 2015.


New photographs from an Indonesian bird market might have exposed the existence of a previously-unknown species of monkey.  It is rare that new species of primates are discovered at all, anywhere in the world.  In this case, though, the species might be proven real just by a photograph, not the collection of a type specimen, which is a dead animal to study and dissect.  Of course, this is what most compassionate people want for the sasquatch as well.

There is a very good reason a type specimen is needed to prove a species exists, and that is to remove all doubt about its reality.  Of course, sometimes the skeleton or a pelt of an unknown creature seems too strange to be accepted at first by the scientific establishment, as in the case of the platypus, but eventually the corpse of something unknown in front of even the most hardened scientific skeptic must eventually be accepted as real, no matter how strange or unexpected.  However, in our (hopefully) more enlightened age, perhaps good photographs combined with DNA evidence can get the job done.  That is what is currently underway with the langur monkeys pictured above.

After these photographs were published, the idea of a new species was challenged by other primatologists.  Vincent Nijman, a primatologist at Oxford Brookes University, has suggested that these langurs are a previously known species that have been dyed or bleached, as he claims is often done in Indonesia.  However, this claim has been questioned by Francesco Nardelli who has never seen an example of an altered animal being sold in markets in over a decade of field work in Indonisia.

We bigfooters can sit back and watch this potentially important case unfold.  I will keep you updated as I hear about things unfolding.

Click here to read the article about the potential discovery.