New species of monkey with red, bushy beard found in Amazon rainforest

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Washington, Aug 13 (ANI): A new species of monkey with a red, bushy beard has been discovered in the Colombian section of the Amazon rain forest, say conservationists.

A scientist first glimpsed Callicebus caquetensis-a type of titi monkey-in the 1960s.

But political strife in the southern Caquetá Province kept scientists away until 2008, when an expedition finally confirmed the bearded monkey as a new species, reports National Geographic News.

The cat-size primate is "fascinating" because it mates for life, an unusual trait among monkeys, said expedition leader Thomas Defler of the National University of Colombia.

Pairs are often spotted sitting on branches with their tails intertwined.

A typical Caquetá titi couple has a baby every year, and the father handles most of the infant's care, other than nursing, Defler noted.

It's unknown why the dad does most of the work, but there's likely an evolutionary advantage, he said.

The newfound Caqueta titi monkey is being forced to travel on the ground more often as Amazon rain forest habitat becomes more and more fragmented by expanding Colombian cattle country, Defler said.

Increased ground travel may make the species more vulnerable to predators, such as margay cats and birds of prey, he said.

It's estimated that fewer than 250 Caquetá titi monkeys survive-which means the International Union for Conservation of Nature will likely classify the primate as critically endangered, he added.

The details appeared online on the journal Primate Conservation. (ANI)

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