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Skywalker hoolock gibbon  11/01/2017
 
 
New 'Star Wars' primate species has been discovered


A study about the discovered animal has been published in the American Journal of Primatology. The gibbon, living in the tropical forests of south west China has been studied for some time already, however, recent findings confirm that this particular animal is different from other gibbons.

The animal was given the name 'Skywalker hoolock gibbon', mainnly because the Chinese meaning of its scientific name means "Heaven's movement", but also because the scientists are fans of Star Wars.

The previously known hoolock gibbon hardly spends time on the ground and is mostly found swinging through the trees of Bangladesh, India, China and Myanmar. As the Skywalker hoolock gibbons markings differed from the usual white eyebrows and beards, the research team - led by Fan Peng-Fei from Sun Yat-sen University in China - believed the animals they were studying were different. Their suspision rose due to the animals different songs, which they use to bond with other gibbons and to mark out their territory.

Dr Sam Turvey, from the Zoological Society of London, who was part of the team studying the apes, told BBC News: "In this area, so many species have declined or gone extinct because of habitat loss, hunting and general human overpopulation.
"So it's an absolute privilege to see something as special and as rare as a gibbon in a canopy in a Chinese rainforest, and especially when it turns out that the gibbons are actually a new species previously unrecognised by science."

Even the original Skywalker, Mark Hamill, has fallen victim to their cuteness.