A monkey notable for its frequent sneezes is among the top ten oddest new species discovered in the past year.
The list was compiled by the International Institute for Species Exploration (IISE) at Arizona State University (ASU) in the US and selected discoveries that highlight the extraordinary biodiversity of the Earth.
Mary Liz Jameson, an associate professor at Wichita State University who chaired the international selection committee, said its members had looked for “species that capture our attention because they are unusual or because they have traits that are bizarre” among the 200-plus nominations.
The sneezing monkey, known as Rhinopithecus strykeri, was discovered in a remote mountainous region of Burma and is believed to be critically endangered.
As only around 36 new mammal species have been discovered a year since 2000, scientists were extremely excited to have identified the never-before seen primate.
In addition to its mostly-black fur and white beard, its most distinctive feature is its upturned snub-nose – which causes the primate to sneeze when it rains because water gets into it.
The ten plants and animals on the list were located all around the world, with representatives from Asia, Europe, Africa and the Americas.
Other entries include a tarantula noted for its iridescent blue colour discovered in Brazil, a night-blooming orchid from Papua New Guinea and a parasitic wasp located in the Spanish capital Madrid that dive-bombs unsuspecting ants to deposit its eggs.
Quentin Wheeler, an entomologist who directs the IISE at ASU, explained: “The top ten is intended to bring attention to the biodiversity crisis and the unsung species explorers and museums who continue a 250-year tradition of discovering and describing the millions of kinds of plants, animals and microbes with whom we share this planet.”
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