A new species of gibbon has been discovered deep in the rainforests of southwestern China. Apparently, the Chinese research team who found the apes are big Star Wars fans, giving it the species name: “Skywalker gibbon.”
Fang Peng-fei and her research team from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou happened to notice some subtle differences in the gibbons’ appearance and behavior. It had a distinctive white mustache and eyebrows, and used a loud call to mark its territory — unusual for gibbons.
Following a full physical and genetic comparison with other gibbons in the same area, they concluded that they had in fact discovered a whole new species. Fang and her team named it “Tianxing” (天行) in Chinese, meaning “heaven’s movement.” For the English translation, they couldn’t help referencing the universe’s most powerful jedi.
Needless to say, the original Luke Skywalker, Mark Hamill, was proud to have the creature named after his iconic character, tweeting:
— Mark Hamill (@HamillHimself) 12 January 2017
Meanwhile, fans have noticed a striking resemblance between the two:
— Haminals (@HamillAnimals) January 11, 2017
Unfortunately, the Skywalker gibbon has already been classified as endangered due to habitat loss caused by humans, the Guardian reports. There may be as many as 200 of the gibbons living in China and Myanmar.
But anyway, enough of that, enjoy a few more photos of the gibbons:
And what better way to cap off the Year of the Monkey than with this discovery? Who knows, maybe next year we’ll find a new species of rooster.
By Matt Bonini
[Images via Sohu]
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