Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New evidence suggests that monkey thought extinct still exists

03.02.2004


After years of searching for a rare African primate, anthropologist Scott McGraw and his colleagues believed that the Miss Waldron’s red colobus monkey, Procolobus badius waldroni, was probably extinct. They had written a paper in 2000 saying so.


Although there are no known photographs of the now extinct Miss Waldron’s red colobus monkey (Procolobus badius waldroni), this illustration provides a good idea of what it looked like.



But recent hard evidence of the Miss Waldron’s red colobus’ existence has rekindled McGraw’s hopes of finding the primate, reportedly last seen in 1978. McGraw, an associate professor of anthropology at Ohio State University, details the evidence and his continuing search for the elusive monkey in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Primatology.

Miss Waldron’s red colobus is a small, black monkey with reddish fur on its forehead and thighs. Researchers think that these primates once lived in large, noisy packs in the canopy rainforests of eastern Ivory Coast and western Ghana. Current evidence suggests that, if the monkey is still alive, it’s range may be limited to the remote southeastern corner of Ivory Coast.


If the monkey were indeed extinct, it would be the first primate to have disappeared in 200 years.

McGraw has spent the better part of a decade traveling to Ivory Coast conducting research on various African monkeys, and always on the lookout for Miss Waldron’s red colobus. To date, he has neither seen nor heard one.

Even so, the last few years have yielded some interesting evidence for McGraw. A year ago, he received a photo of what looks like an adult Miss Waldron’s red colobus – albeit a freshly killed one.

"This is the only known photograph of a Miss Waldron’s red colobus, and it’s dead," said an exasperated McGraw. "But everyone who knows anything about this primate says it’s definitely a Miss Waldron’s."

Two years ago, an Ivorian hunter gave McGraw the skin of a monkey with reddish markings. The man told McGraw that this monkey had been traveling with a pack of black and white colobus monkeys, and that he hadn’t seen any other monkeys in the group with reddish markings. The skin is now framed and hangs on the wall in McGraw’s Columbus office.

In 2001, again in Ivory Coast, another hunter gave McGraw a black tail from a monkey. Two black-tailed monkey species inhabit the country’s southwestern forests. Subsequent DNA testing proved that the tail did indeed come from a red colobus monkey. Ironically, the hunter said he had shot the animal only a week after McGraw had left the country in 2000.

McGraw has not been to Ivory Coast since the winter of 2002. While the country’s nine-month civil war was declared over last July, tensions remain high as the country remains politically split. McGraw continues to rely on the Ivorian hunters he knows to keep him informed about sightings of Miss Waldron’s red colobus. He’s even offered monetary awards to hunters who hear or see the primate.

That relationship is somewhat tenuous. Hunting is illegal in Ivory Coast, but the laws aren’t enforced, McGraw said. Bush meat has become something of a delicacy, and many people living in the country’s remote areas hunt to eat or sell the meat. Add to that a loss of about 85 percent of the country’s original forest cover, and the outlook for Miss Waldron’s red colobus doesn’t seem very promising.

"When most of the forest is destroyed and the human population skyrockets and the most remote villages get shotguns, we can’t expect to have a good number of these primates around," said McGraw, who is also an associate professor of evolution, ecology and organismal biology. "But if this monkey is extinct, then something has gone very, very wrong, as primates are pretty resilient."

McGraw is eager to return to Ivory Coast and start anew the tedious search for Miss Waldron’s red colobus. He and his colleagues are also trying to organize a conservation program in the country to help save animals that are near extinction.

If the monkey is extinct, the ramifications may be felt on a significant number of levels.

"Its extinction may represent the beginning of a wave of extinctions which will make their way across this part of Africa," McGraw said. "There could be a cascade of disappearances, including all of those animals that are dependent on high-canopy forests. "Since there’s very little canopy area left, this list could include forest elephants, leopards, chimpanzees, and so on."

Funding for McGraw’s work comes from Conservation International, Primate Conservation Incorporated, the American Society of Primatology, the New York Zoological Society and Ohio State.


Contact: W. Scott McGraw, (614) 688-3794; McGraw.43@osu.edu
Written by Holly Wagner, (614) 292-8310; Wagner.235@osu.edu

Holly Wagner | OSU
Further information:
http://researchnews.osu.edu/archive/redcolo.htm

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Dispersal of Fish Eggs by Water Birds – Just a Myth?
19.02.2018 | Universität Basel

nachricht Removing fossil fuel subsidies will not reduce CO2 emissions as much as hoped
08.02.2018 | International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

Im Focus: Hybrid optics bring color imaging using ultrathin metalenses into focus

For photographers and scientists, lenses are lifesavers. They reflect and refract light, making possible the imaging systems that drive discovery through the microscope and preserve history through cameras.

But today's glass-based lenses are bulky and resist miniaturization. Next-generation technologies, such as ultrathin cameras or tiny microscopes, require...

Im Focus: Stem cell divisions in the adult brain seen for the first time

Scientists from the University of Zurich have succeeded for the first time in tracking individual stem cells and their neuronal progeny over months within the intact adult brain. This study sheds light on how new neurons are produced throughout life.

The generation of new nerve cells was once thought to taper off at the end of embryonic development. However, recent research has shown that the adult brain...

Im Focus: Interference as a new method for cooling quantum devices

Theoretical physicists propose to use negative interference to control heat flow in quantum devices. Study published in Physical Review Letters

Quantum computer parts are sensitive and need to be cooled to very low temperatures. Their tiny size makes them particularly susceptible to a temperature...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Researchers invent tiny, light-powered wires to modulate brain's electrical signals

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

The “Holy Grail” of peptide chemistry: Making peptide active agents available orally

21.02.2018 | Life Sciences

Atomic structure of ultrasound material not what anyone expected

21.02.2018 | Materials Sciences

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>