Updated 8:44 AM EDT, Wed, Aug 18, 2021

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Five New Acrobatic Monkey Species Confirmed In Amazon

Saki monkey

(Photo : Photo from A flying or acrobatic monkey known as "saki" belongs to the Pithecia genus. Five new species were confirmed in the Amazon recently.

Five new species of flying or acrobatic monkeys in the Amazon were recently confirmed by scientists, according to a study. The newbie "saki" monkeys had been previously identified, but were too elusive for scientific research.

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Conservation International, the sakis were named as Cazuza's saki, Isabel's saki, Mittermeier's Tapajós saki, Pissinatti's bald-faced saki and Rylands' bald-faced saki.

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Sakis are primates that weigh about eight pounds (four kilograms) and are distinguishable by their colorful facial hair and bushy coats.

They are extremely shy and quick to jump from treetop to treetop when disturbed.

Ten years ago, director and cofounder of the Global Conservation Institute, Laura Marsh, became interested in sakis in Ecuador.

She initially described them as "fluffy, kinda uglyish cats that run on the tops of trees."

She also noted that some of her sightings were not in her field guide. This prompted her to research more about the sakis and create its family tree.

For almost 10 years, she studied 800 skins, 690 skulls, and hundreds of photographs in natural museums of 17 countries.

Marsh and her team found out that they belong to the Pithecia genus, which now has 16 species.

They also make the following sounds: "grunts, chirps, whistles, and low calls." But they can be awfully quiet when hiding from perceived threats, according to Marsh's study.

A single species has notable differences in terms of color, sizes, and other distinguishing factors.

For example, some female saki specimens have protruding clitorises, which the scientists misidentified as penises. Also, juvenile sakis have similar colors as the adult females.

Although Marsh's study was deemed comprehensive, more research is needed. They have yet to analyze genetics and distribution.

Marsh said the next step includes investigation of the five species' population and vulnerability in its ecosystem.

While previous studies indicate the sakis' adaption in human-affected environment, a deeper research would reveal their status in the wild.

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