A pocket-size monkey with a koala-like face has been discovered in a remote part of the Amazon, the latest evidence that the world's largest rain forest has yet to give up all of its secrets, a biologist said.
The monkey, which has a hint of zebra stripes, is "a completely new species" and its discovery "shows how poorly we still know an area like the Amazon," said Russell Mittermeier of Conservation International.
The environmental group, based in Washington, D.C., conducts research projects aimed at preserving threatened species and biological diversity.
Mittermeier's formal scientific description of the monkey will be published today in the Brazilian scientific journal Goeldiana.
The monkey, christened the Maues (pronounced mah-WAYSS) marmoset, was found this year by Marco Schwarz, a Swiss biologist, in an undisturbed area near the Maues River, a tributary of the Amazon 800 miles upriver from the Amazon delta.
"He found these things and he didn't know what they were," Mittermeier said. "He thought they were something interesting and unusual. A friend sent me pictures and I knew right away that they were interesting."
The Maues marmoset is the third new monkey to be discovered in Brazil since 1990, Mittermeier said.
With the latest discovery, Brazil now has 68 known species of primates, more than one-quarter of all the primate species in the world, Mittermeier said. Primates include monkeys, apes, lemurs and humans.