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New monkey species found

Published: Wednesday 31 July 2002

The Callicebus stephennashi<sc two new monkey species that are about the size of small cats have been recently discovered in Brazil's central Amazon. The discovery was made by Marc Van Roosmalen, a scientist working at Brazil's National Institute for Amazon Research. Full scientific descriptions of the monkeys, Callicebus bernardi and Callicebus stephennashi , were recently published by the peer-review journal Neotropical Primates .

"This once again demonstrates how little we know about biodiversity, these are the 37th and 38th new primate species described since 1990," said Russell Mittermeier, president of Conservation International, an us-based organisation. Van Roosmalen discovered the bernardi monkey -- named after Holland's prince Bernhard -- between the east bank of Madeira river and the lower reaches of the Aripuana river. He found it accidentally while travelling in the region searching for another new species, the dwarf marmoset, which a local fisherfolk brought to his home in 1996.

The bernardi monkey is remarkable for its dark orange sideburns, chest and inner sides of its limbs. It has a reddish-brown back and a white-tipped black tail. The bernardi's head and body measure about 15 inches and the tail another 22 inches. An average individual weighs about 33 ounces.

Van Roosmalen found the second monkey last year while conducting a scientific survey near the Purus river. The stephennashi is a silver monkey with a black forehead and red sideburns, chest and red on the inner sides of its limbs. Its head and body measures about 11 inches and the tail another 17 inches.

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