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The Lesula of the Congo
September 12, 2012 5:18 PM   Subscribe

A new monkey species, known to locals as the 'lesula' (Cercopithecus lomamiensis), has been discovered in a largely unexploited rainforest within the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).
posted by Wordshore (44 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
"Discovered" and yet known by the locals.
posted by Houstonian at 5:21 PM on September 12, 2012 [12 favorites]


It's like Dobby went through puberty and grew a bunch of hair all over his face.
posted by sallybrown at 5:25 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


"Discovered" and yet known by the locals.

Who are eating them.
posted by benito.strauss at 5:27 PM on September 12, 2012


largely unexploited rainforest

Boy, we're going to solve the fuck out of that non-problem.
posted by mhoye at 5:27 PM on September 12, 2012 [35 favorites]


are we sure it's not just a regular monkey with the mumps?
posted by roger ackroyd at 5:28 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's like Dobby went through puberty and grew a bunch of hair all over his face.

Or Cher, as a friend of mine pointed out.
posted by eugenen at 5:29 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I can't wait to eat that monkey.
posted by Burhanistan at 5:29 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


I think it looks like something by Studio Ghibli. Like a forest god-spirit.

... Princess Monokey?
posted by The otter lady at 5:31 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


For folks interested in the original article, it's in the open source journal PLOS ONE - "Lesula: A new species of Cercopithecus monkey endemic to the Democratic Republic of Congo and implications for conservation of Congo's Central Basin." There are some great pictures, and also some pictures of dead monkeys and some skulls. The whole study looks like it's pretty fantastic - they've done lots of genetic sampling to confirm that this is a new species and not just a sub-species, and they've done detailed morphological analyses. They've also gotten some behavioral observations, including an observation of a crowned eagle attack! This is crazy and is very rare to witness. It's important that they've been recognized scientifically from a conservation perspective, because now there will be more resources and attention to dedicate to the conservation of this particular part of the forest (and hopefully spring for more surveying trips), but it's also interesting from a primatology perspective, and a biogeography perspective because they're separated from their closest relatives by a series of rivers and tributaries. The whole thing is fantastic, and speaking as someone who studies very closely related monkeys, I'm PSYCHED!

While it's unfortunate that these guys are hunted for meat and also kept as pets by folks living around them, it actually bodes pretty well for their population size. If there are enough wandering that they're commonly being captured or killed, that's a great sign. They're very closely related to Hamlyn's monkeys, who look (frankly) even weirder. It looks like they're getting around by being pretty quiet and hanging out with other monkeys who are picking up on different predators. I'm really excited about the whole thing!
posted by ChuraChura at 5:32 PM on September 12, 2012 [20 favorites]


Shopped. Those are clearly people eyes.

Those things look pretty damn close to human.I could see wanting to kick back and have a few beers and play burnout with them but not eat them.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:34 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Call me cynical, but I pretty much called it that this whole Jesus Painting story was just a viral ad being paid for by these monkeys before their IPO.
posted by Greg Nog at 5:41 PM on September 12, 2012 [23 favorites]


They do look suspiciously similar.
posted by Ad hominem at 5:42 PM on September 12, 2012


Extremely poignant look on the lesula's face in that top photo. He evokes a complex emotion: a bit sad, and with a heavy quality of resignation, as if thinking: "so, they've discovered us... sigh ... it was bound to happen sooner or later...."
posted by flapjax at midnite at 5:44 PM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


The Harts, the conservationist couple that led the Lesula project, have an amazing blog detailing their work. Here's the Lesula post and their post on the tragedy at Epulu which you might remember from the blue a few months back. They help found the Okapi Reserve at Epulu and are working to establish a park in the area where the new monkey was discovered. I was lucky enough to travel with them and a few of the other authors through this so-called "TL2" region back in June-July (and I saw a cute baby Lesula.) The level of hunting really is shockingly high. We saw so many dead monkeys and homemade shotguns. Hopefully the publication of the new-to-science species will bring much needed support to the conservation effort.

Also, the monkey looks like Gene Wilder in this primatologist's opinion.
posted by bergeycm at 5:55 PM on September 12, 2012 [12 favorites]


They have beautiful eyes. I think the adults are even more interesting to look at than the infants. Makes me want to hold a conversation with them; they look so peaceful and thoughtful.

I'm fairly sure they don't talk, and they probably would rather rip my face off than converse, even if they do.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:00 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


LOOK. LOOK AT THAT MONKEY FACE.
posted by Windigo at 6:02 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


A new kind of monkey, in 2012! That's amazing to think about. It only goes to show how much we've yet to learn, if even such a relatively big animal can still be newly found.
posted by Jehan at 6:05 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


A new monkey species, known to locals as the 'lesula' (Cercopithecus lomamiensis), has been discovered in a largely unexploited rainforest within the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC).

Yeah, largely unexploited up until now that we know it's full of DELICIOUS MONKEYS.
posted by infinitywaltz at 6:09 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Remember everyone, we're talking about the Democratic Republic of the Congo, not the Republic of the Congo. Or, as one of my students once wrote, the Dominican Republic of the Congo.
posted by Groundhog Week at 6:15 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


If they hate cilantro and cucumbers then they are going to be my best friends.
posted by Mojojojo at 6:15 PM on September 12, 2012


As usual, The Onion was there first.
posted by Mendl at 6:26 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I thought Old World monkeys didn't have prehensile tails. Am I wrong?
posted by Partario at 6:31 PM on September 12, 2012


House elves, not monkeys.

The more I look at the photos, the more creeped out I get.
posted by Fig at 6:32 PM on September 12, 2012


Partario, you're right. These guys don't have prehensile tails.
posted by ChuraChura at 6:40 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Dominican Republic of the Congo
Ah, the successor state to the Benedictine Federal Kingdoms of Zaire.
posted by Abiezer at 6:42 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I believe the part of the forest the lesulas were discovered in is known locally as the Uncanny Valley.
posted by maryr at 7:06 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


I can't wait to eat that monkey.

I don't know why that made me laugh so hard. It just did.

Almost as much as when I read the tweet "Hey Adobe, how about an update? It's been almost a week!" from TwopTwips.
posted by NailsTheCat at 7:15 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


So awesome! Does anyone else think the adult male looks strangely like Gene Wilder? No? OK.........I'm cool with that.

Lovely, interesting creatures (Gene AND the Lesula)!
posted by but no cigar at 7:37 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Does anyone else think the adult male looks strangely like Gene Wilder?

Yes. bergeycm did.
posted by NailsTheCat at 7:49 PM on September 12, 2012


So awesome! Does anyone else think the adult male looks strangely like Gene Wilder? No?

My first instinct was a very unimpressed Jake Gyllenhaal.
posted by hanoixan at 7:54 PM on September 12, 2012


My first instinct was a very unimpressed Jake Gyllenhaal.

Yes. Jake Gyllenhaal, or either of the Sochas.
posted by Sys Rq at 8:25 PM on September 12, 2012


Shopped. Those are clearly people eyes.

Those things look pretty damn close to human.I could see wanting to kick back and have a few beers and play burnout with them but not eat them.


The Cercopithecoid monkeys are the closest animals to humans outside the apes. They look uncannly like us because they are us.
posted by Ironmouth at 8:42 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Lovely, interesting creatures (Gene AND the Lesula)!

I'm still mad Gene and the Lesula never got picked up for a full season.
posted by fishmasta at 9:20 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bon Iver Hipster Monkey! Cuute.
posted by helmutdog at 9:57 PM on September 12, 2012


Hey, fellow journalists, let's come up with a new word for "discovered" to describe what happens when scientists identify something lots of other people have known about for years.

"Classify"? "Identify"? "Taxonomify" isn't a word, but that's really what we are talking about. "Discover" sounds like all of those people who had a name for the things they saw and petted and ate don't really count, and that's pretty bullshit.

Also I would like several of those primates to come live at my house, because they are adorable.
posted by Sidhedevil at 10:39 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Thanks, NailsTheCat. I missed bergeycm's observation, but am gratified I'm in good company and not going insane(er). And "Gene and the Lesula" would make an excellent tv series, full of wacky hijinx, grand adventures and, in the end, we'd all learn a little something about ourselves. Ahhh, yeah.
posted by but no cigar at 12:10 AM on September 13, 2012


The Cercopithecoid monkeys are the closest animals to humans outside the apes. They look uncannly like us because they are us.

I found myself staring at this monkey face and then glanced at my own reflection and a question popped into my head: other primates have facial hair patterns that encircle their facial features with apparent hairlessness around the mouth. So why is it that adult human males have moustaches?
posted by rh at 12:36 AM on September 13, 2012


First Photo Evidence of Snub-Nosed Monkey Species in China
posted by homunculus at 12:58 AM on September 13, 2012


I think it looks like something by Studio Ghibli.

Alas, in my case the name 'Lesula' immediately evoked cheap 1970s porn films.
posted by Segundus at 4:52 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


1. Discover new species
2. Generate meme.
posted by Kabanos at 6:43 AM on September 13, 2012


"Discovered" and yet known by the locals.

I always find the huffing and puffing around the word "discovered" odd. It's not as if it means "made known to human kind for the very first time." It's a "discovery" to the scientists, to whom it was previously unknown. That's not some kind of slur upon those who already knew of the monkey's existence.
posted by yoink at 8:41 AM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


There are other primates with mustaches.
posted by ChuraChura at 9:30 AM on September 13, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm sorry to say this, because any new monkeys are good monkeys, but it looks like something out of a Terry Gilliam animation.
posted by Samizdata at 11:28 AM on September 13, 2012


Those tamarins have about the same reaction to the iPhone that my family did last Christmas. But with less yelling.

"SIRI! CAN YOU TELL ME IF IT IS SNOWING OUTSIDE?"
"No, Dad, that's not how it works..."
"SIRI! HOW ARE YOU?"

posted by maryr at 9:35 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


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