The pygmy tasier, an incredibly tiny, incredibly cute primate thought to be extinct has been re-discovered in remote Indonesian forests by Texas A&M University anthropologist Sharon Gursky-Doyen and her team of students and locals.
The wide-eyed, mouse-sized, 2-ounce primate was last seen in 2000, when one was found dead in at trap. Before that, the last sighting had been in 1921.
The researchers compared the nocturnal fur ball to both a gremlin (the fuzzy version that hasn't been exposed to water, bright sunlight or food after midnight) and the Furby (the must-have toy of 1998), both of which hopefully can now be remembered for looking like a pygmy tasier.
One unique features of the species is its claws. Unlike most primates, its fingers have claws, not nails.
The anthropologists captured the tasiers using mist nets -- which are so finely meshed as to be invisible -- at elevations above 7,000 feet on Mt. Rore Katimbo in Lore Lindu National Park in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia.
Gursky-Doyen studies the behaviors, like infant caretaking, in non-human primates.
The discovery comes amid a mix of recent news about the state of the world's primates.
Overall, the news is not good. About half of all primate species around the world are endangered, due to hunting and habitat loss. But, the Wildlife Conservation Society recently announced the discovery of a new population of lowland gorilla in the Republic of Congo that nearly doubles the known population of that species, and now the organization has announced a second discovery.
And Cambodia shelters "surprisingly large" numbers of two species that are threatened - the black-shanked douc langur, a monkey, and the yellow-cheeked crested gibbon, an ape. That makes Cambodia's Seima Biodiversity Conservation Area the region with the largest populations of both species anywhere in the world. That park, in a forest that had once been heavily traversed by loggers and hunters, has been protected by the government since 2002.
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