New York University Skip to Content Skip to Search Skip to Navigation Skip to Sub Navigation

New Monkey Species Discovered in the Forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo

January 3, 2013

A new species of monkey has been discovered in the Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) by a team of researchers that included NYU anthropologists Andrew Burrell and Anthony Tosi, as well as former NYU doctoral student Kate Detwiler.

Their findings were reported in the online journal PLoS One.

In 2007, a previously undescribed monkey known locally as “lesula” was found in the forests of DRC during a field survey. Named Cercopithecus lomamiensis, it is the second new species of African monkey to be discovered in the past 28 years. The researchers suggested C. lomamiensis remained unknown because the region it populates was not explored by scientists until relatively recently.

C. lomamiensis is a member of the tribe Cercopithecini, or guenons, which are endemic to sub-Saharan Africa and occupy a range of habitats. It is a medium-sized monkey, with adult males measuring 18-26 inches and weighing 9-15 pounds.

The research team determined that it had discovered a new species after employing a series of methodological approaches, including anatomical comparisons, 3D measures of skull shape, and DNA analyses. All showed the lesula to be distinct from other guenons. The genetic work, which was conducted at NYU, revealed that the lesula split from its closest relatives over two million years ago. The researchers bolstered these approaches with recorded measurements of C. lomamiensis’ vocal behavior, which showed frequencies similar to, but not the same as, other species.

“The discovery underlines the fact that we still have gaps in our most basic understanding of the natural world,” says Burrell, a postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Anthropology’s Center for the Study of Human Origins. “Moreover, it highlights a remarkable but poorly known forest.”

Recent surveys, notes Burrell, have shown that the forest also harbors okapi, bonobos, and elephants, as well as 10 other primate species or subspecies. While Congolean forests are under extreme threat, this forest is very remote and is an excellent candidate for conservation. If efforts are made now to protect it, the lesula and many other plant and animal species can be saved from extinction.


Type: Article

New Monkey Species Discovered in the Forests of the Democratic Republic of Congo

Search News



NYU In the News

Paying It Backward: NYU Alum Funds Scholarships

The Wall Street Journal profiled Trustee Evan Chesler on why he decided to chair the Momentum fund-raising campaign.

A Nobel Prize Party: Cheese, Bubbles, and a Boson

The New Yorker talked to Professor Kyle Cranmer and graduate student Sven Kreiss about NYU’s role in the discovery of the Higgs boson, which resulted in a Nobel prize for the scientists who predicted its existence.

The World as They Knew It

The New York Times reviewed the exhibit at the Institute for the Study of the Ancient World on how ancient Greeks and Romans mapped the known and unknown areas of their world.

Elite Institutions: Far More Diverse Than They Were 20 Years Ago

NYU made stronger gains over the last 20 years in increasing diversity than any other major research university, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

Program Seeks to Nurture ‘Data Science Culture’
at Universities

The New York Times reported on the multi-million collaboration among NYU and two other universities to harness the potential of Big Data, including an interview with Professor Yann LeCun, director of NYU’s Center for Data Science.

NYU Footer