Mystery ‘hybrid’ monkey leaves baffled scientists in ‘awe’ after jungle spot

THE DAILY STAR:

A mystery “hybrid” monkey has baffled scientists, after the apparent cross breed was spotted in a Borneo rainforest.

The monkey, spotted near the Kinabatangan River in Malaysian Borneo, appears to be a combination of two different species that are actually competing for forest space, a new study states.

The “mystery monkey” was initially spotted in 2017 and pictures began circulating online of the specimen but coronavirus blocked researchers from getting up close and personal.

Instead, they analysed the 2017 images and newer ones from 2020, that show the then-juvenile has developed into a fully formed female and even has a child of her own.

“She appeared to be nursing a baby,” study co-author Nadine Ruppert, a primatologist at the Universiti Sains Malaysia (Science University of Malaysia), told Live Science. “We were all in awe, it was quite surreal.”

Researchers concluded that the monkey is likely the offspring of two distantly related species that share the same habitat; a proboscis monkey (Nasalis larvatus) and a silvery langur (Trachypithecus cristatus).

Scientists are so interested because even in the rare case that inter-breeding between the same species takes place, it doesn’t usually produce viable offspring.

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