Top 10 New Species of 2012
(Photo reconstruction credit: Thomas Geissmann / Fauna & Flora International)
Name: Rhinopithecus strykeri
Common Name: Sneezing Monkey
How it made the Top 10: Since 2000, the number of mammals discovered each year only averages about 36 so it was nothing to sneeze at when a new primate came to the attention of scientists who were conducting a gibbon survey in the high mountains of Myanmar (formerly Burma). Rhinopithecus strykeri is the first snub-nosed monkey to be reported from Myanmar and is believed to be Critically Endangered. It is distinctive for its mostly black fur and white beard and for sneezing when it rains – although it tries to avoid dripping rainwater in its turned up nose by sitting with its head between its legs. While conducting interviews for the Hoolock Gibbon Status Review, hunters and villagers told the survey team of scientists that they could find this snub-nosed monkey by waiting until it rained and listening for sneezes in the trees. We say congratulations… and Gesundheit.
Etymology: strykeri is named in “honor of Jon Stryker, President, and Founder of the Arcus Foundation.”
Type Material: Holotype - Anthropological Institute and Museum of the University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.Paratypes -zoological collection of Hlawga Wildlife Park, Yangon Division, Myanmar and Anthropological Institute and Museum of the University of Zürich, Zürich, Switzerland.
Type Locality: Maw River area, northeastern Kachin state, northeastern Myanmar
Reference: Geissmann,T., Lwin, N., Aung, S.S., Aung, T.N., Aung, Z.M., Hla, T.H., Grindley, M., & Momberg, F. (2011). A New Species of Snub-Nosed Monkey, Genus Rhinopithecus Milne-Edwards, 1872 (Primates, Colobinae), From Northern Kachin State, Northeastern Myanmar. American Journal of Primatology 73:96 – 107.