A monkey known as the lesula to local people in a remote part of the Democratic Republic of the Congo has been found to be a species new to science, researchers reported this week in the journal PLOS ONE. The species has been discovered just as it is being threatened with being hunted and eaten into extinction.
It is only the second new species of African monkey discovered in the last 28 years, according to PLOS ONE.
“The first lesula found was a young captive animal seen in 2007 in a school director’s compound in the town of Opala in the Democratic Republic of Congo,” the journal said in a news statement. “The young monkey bore a resemblance to the owl faced monkey, but its coloration was unlike that of any other known species.”
Since the initial sighting, researchers report in their PLOS ONE paper, the lesula was also found in the wild, where biologists were able to observe its behavior and ecology and determine its genetic and anatomical distinctiveness. The monkey has been assigned the scientific name Cercopithecus lomamiensis.
by David Braun