Saturday, December 18, 2010
Primatologist Russ Mittermeier has seen a lot of species, and participated in the discovery of more than one. In Madagascar, some fifteen years ago, he spotted a member of the "fork-marked lemurs" - known for a black stripe on its back that forked on its face. He suspected the species was new, but didn't get to take another look until two months ago. He and his team captured a specimen, took genetic samples, and let it go. Based on an odd structure under the tongue, apparently used for lapping up nectar, Mittermeier thinks he has the world's newest primate species on his hands. The genes will tell.