A new macaque monkey species with a round rather than arrow-shaped penis has been discovered by Chinese scientists in the state of Modog, in southeastern Tibet. It is called Macaca leucogenys or the ‘white-cheeked macaque’.
Cheng Li, from the Imaging Biodiversity Expedition (China), Chao Zhao and Peng-Fei Fan, both from the Institute of Eastern-Himalaya Biodiversity Research, Dali University (China), wrote about their discovery in the American Journal of Primatology (citation below).
The researchers believe what they discovered is a new species, distinct from the Macaca sinica species group, based on 738 photographs taken from camera traps and direct observations.
A juvenile white-cheeked macaque. The white markings on the cheeks are not visible when they are young. (Image: American Journal of Primatology)
In an Abstract in the journal, the authors added:
“ Moreover, the species is distinguished from all potential sympatric macaque species (M. mulatta, M. thibetana, M. assamensis, and M. munzala) in exhibiting a suite of pelage characteristics including relatively uniform dorsal hair pattern, hairy ventral pelage, relative hairless short tail, prominent pale to white side- and chin-whiskers creating a white cheek and round facial appearance, dark facial skin on the muzzle, long and thick hairs on its neck, and a round rather than arrow-shaped male genitalia.”
It is also distinguished from other macaque species in the region by a dark, hairy scrotum (other macaques have white scrotums).
Thrives in different habitats
According to data they gathered, the researchers found that the new macaque species exploits a diverse set of habitat types, from tropical forests at 1,395 metres altitude, to primary and secondary evergreen broad-leaved forest at 2,000 meters.
They were also found at 2,700 meters altitude in a mixed broadleaf-conifer forest.
The New Scientists quoted Paul Garber, Executive Editor of the American Journal of Primatology, who said:
“It is an area where there’s been very little scientific exploration, partly because of political conflicts.”
Chao Zhao added:
“The forest in Modog is like a nature library, and we know very little about it. Discovery of the new macaque species suggests that there may be some species that still remain undiscovered in this area.”
Citation: “White-cheeked macaque (Macaca leucogenys): A new macaque species from Modog, southeastern Tibet,” Cheng Li, Chao Zhao and Peng-Fei Fan. American Journal of Primatology. Published 25 March, 2015. DOI: 10.1002/ajp.22394.
Video – New type of macaque