JAN 22, 2017 8:45 AM PST

New Species of Gibbon Discovered and Named After Luke Skywalker

WRITTEN BY: Anthony Bouchard

New animal species are popping up in the wilderness all the time, many of which have probably been there for a really long time and just went unnoticed.

The latest to be discovered by biologists is a new species of gibbon, which the Star Wars-loving scientists are trying to have named the “Skywalker hoolock gibbon” in honor of the character Luke Skywalker. The findings appear in the American Journal of Primatology.

A Skywalker hoolock gibbon in its natural habitat.

Image Credit: Fan Peng-Fei, Cloud Mountain Conservation

The new species, known as H. tianxing, joins two other species in the same genus, known as Hoolock hoolock and H. leuconedys. It was found in the forests of Southwest Asia and Eastern Myanmar, and according to reports, it has no tail and measures just under three feet tall. Interestingly, this new breed of gibbons also have very different hair colors in certain areas of their bodies, such as their beards, eyebrows, and even surrounding their genitals.

It’s worth noting that other species of gibbons in the region are listed as vulnerable by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), and there isn’t enough data yet to say whether or not the Skywalker hoolock gibbon is following in their footsteps.

According to the scientists who found it, the Skywalker hoolock gibbion “represents a new species, [and] its formal conservation status must also be reevaluated.” More importantly, “it is difficult to evaluate the conservation status of H. tianxing without more robust information on the status of these poorly known populations, but we propose that H. tianxing should probably be assessed as endangered on the IUCN Red List.”

Without knowing too much about the species, the scientists are already recommending it for the endangered species list. At this point in time, it’s a pretty sketchy assessment, lacking any true research or evidence that they actually are an endangered species, but the hope is to get them protected as soon as possible to help ensure that they’re given a chance to succeed in our world.

Not to mention, by naming them the “Skywalker hoolock gibbion,” it’s sure to get a little extra attention from science fiction fans, so perhaps it’ll stick in people’s minds to help protect these little 15-pound creatures rather than to continue with deforestation and other human impacts on the world that can cause these species populations to shrink

Source: Live Science

About the Author
  • Fascinated by scientific discoveries and media, Anthony found his way here at LabRoots, where he would be able to dabble in the two. Anthony is a technology junkie that has vast experience in computer systems and automobile mechanics, as opposite as those sound.
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