Years of extensive study have culminated in the discovery of a new primate, with a little help from a 100-year-old specimen in London’s Natural History Museum. The mystery monkey, which has been hiding in plain sight in central Myanmar, will henceforth be known as the Popa langur, named after the sacred mountain that harbours the largest known population of the species.
Described in a new scientific paper published today, the Popa langur has been the focus of intensive research by the German Primate Centre (DPZ) – Leibniz Institute for Primate Research in Göttingen alongside Fauna & Flora International (FFI).
In collaboration with numerous other partners including NGOs, universities and natural history museums – and with support from the Critical Ecosystem Partnership Fund, among others – DPZ and FFI staff have been investigating the evolutionary history and species diversity of langurs in Myanmar. Extensive genetic and morphological studies, combined with field surveys undertaken by FFI, have enabled the collaborators to piece together the evidence leading to the description of the new species.