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Weird & Wonderful Creatures: The Snub-Nosed Monkey

The Myanmar Snub-Nosed Monkey (Rhinopithecus strykeri)

Though only officially "discovered" by scientists in 2010, the Myanmar snub-nosed monkeys were well known by locals and hunters in northern Myanmar (Burma) and southern China well before that. Myanmar snub-nosed monkeys are closely related to four other species of snub-nosed monkeys that primarily live in China and Vietnam, including grey, black, golden, and Tonkin snub-nosed monkeys. This species is separated from other species' populations by geographic barriers. Myanmar snub-nosed monkeys are classified as critically endangered on the IUCN Red List, as the wild population only consists of approximately 300 individuals. Hunting by humans is their greatest threat.

These creatures' distinctive facial features led them to be known as "monkey with an upturned face" by locals. Unlike many other primates, these monkeys' noses are upturned; in the rainy climate of Southeast Asia, individuals are apparently easy to find in the wild as they can be heard sneezing when they get rainwater in their noses! Locals say that to avoid this, the monkeys will spend rainy days sitting with their heads between their knees to prevent getting their noses wet.

Until recently, there was very little photo or video available of Myanmar snub-nosed monkeys due to their small population and remote habitat; the video below is one of few. For more information on this fascinating species of primate, check out the IUCN page about them. Or take a look at Science NetLinks resources on Chimps, Humans, Thumbs, and Tools or our Endangered Species 1 and 2 lessons.


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