New Species of Gibbon Found in China

Scientists have discovered a new species of gibbon living in south-west China’s rainforests.

It has been named the ‘Skywalker hoolock gibbon’ by its discoverers.

The name is also a nod to the fact that the Chinese characters of its scientific name, Hoolock tianxing, mean “Heaven’s movement”.

In this area, so many species have declined or gone extinct because of habitat loss, hunting and general human overpopulation.

The research team, led by Fan Peng-Fei from the Sun Yat-sen University in China, first suspected that the gibbons that they were studying in Gaoligongshan nature reserve in Yunnan Province might be different because of subtle differences in the typical facial markings of white eyebrows and beards.

Gibbons are renowned for their loud song, which they use to mark territory, and this also sounded unusual.