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Sneezin' In The Rain: The Evolutionary Curse Of A Newfound Monkey Species In Burma

Atchoo! Swiss researchers have identified a new species of snub-nosed monkey living in the forests of northern Burma. It's upside-down nostrils seem to cause it to sneeze its way through the entire rainy season

A golden snub-nosed monkey, cousin of the sneezer (suneko)
A golden snub-nosed monkey, cousin of the sneezer (suneko)

*NEWSBITES

In the local dialect, the monkey is referred to as mey nwoah, meaning "monkey with an upturned face." Its wide nostrils that look like they are upside down also has some Internet jesters pointing out a resemblance with post-plastic surgery Michael Jackson. For the record, the scientific term for this beauty is Rhinopithecus strykeri, but you may call it the Burmese snub-nosed monkey.

A team of researchers from the University of Zurich's Anthropological Institute and Museum discovered the new primate, though they were unable to snap a picture of the monkey before it ran away. Suffice to say that it said to resemble its cousin, the golden snub-nosed monkey (pictured above), but even a tad uglier.

Still, people from the northwest region of Burma say that if you want to find the monkey, you first need to wait for the rainy season to come, then you can just follow the sneezes. Because when rain falls into the monkey's open nostrils it is believed to cause it to sneeze, so much so that they often spend soggy days with their heads tucked between their knees, atchooing away.

Other species of snub-nosed monkeys had already been found, but until now there had been no reports of the animals in Burma.

The discovery of a new species is a cause for celebration. Unfortunately, scientists estimate that only 260 to 330 of these monkeys remain. As such, they already qualify as critically endangered by the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN). Well then...to the Burmese snub-nosed monkeys still around: Bless you!

Read the full story in French by Lucia Sillig

Photo – suneko

*Newsbites are digest items, not direct translations

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