Giant Stuffed Monkeys & A New Monkey Species

One has to wonder how much a giant stuffed monkey misses the opportunity to hang from a canopied bed or even a shelf, while it sits instead, somewhere, all but forgotten, and waits to be played with. After all, a giant stuffed monkey should be given every chance to do what it loves most: swing to and fro from anything that remotely will stand in for a tree.

In the summer of 2005, photographs were taken in the forests of Tanzania of what was deemed a new species of primate. A year later, in January 2006, The Wildlife Conservation Society were in those same forests looking for the tree-dwelling, grey animal.

Following examination of DNA test results going at the University of Alaska Fairbanks, not only was it discovered that the monkey was a new species, it was a new classification of primate altogether. It has been more than 83 years since a brand new classification of a living African primate has been found, reminding scientists just how much there still is to learn about plant and animal life on the planet.

This new monkey species was given the name Rungwecebus kipunji, after the home range it was found in, in Mt. Rungwe, Tanzania. When the monkey was first described by scientists in 2005, it was noted that both its behavior and appearance were different from other known monkey species. Initially, it was classified with the primate group called Lophcebus which includes mangabeys three other species of monkey but it was grouped that way only based on photographs and field observations. In the summer of 2005, a dead kipunji monkey was found by a farmer in a trap and was subsequently turned over to the Wildlife Conservation Society in Tanzania. Genetic analysis was done on the carcass as was a physical examination and it was discovered that this new primate was more like a baboon which belongs to the Papio classification. In addition, following examinations and analysis of its physical characteristics, multiple differences between baboons and the kipunji monkey became evident. As was the case, the kipunji was given its very own scientific classification, namely Rungwecebus.

While photographs tell one story, they do not always tell the entire tale as was evident in the case of the kipunji monkey. Through what was no less than international collaboration among scientists, with the use of genetic analysis, much more than just a new species of monkey was discovered.

A giant stuffed monkey is by no means a new kind of plush toy. It is however, one in which can easily come to ‘life’ simply because of its size. Given that animals made of terracotta and wood have long been a source of imagery for soft toys, there is nothing unusual about combining animal characters with the technology of making dolls to create a soft version in this case, the ever popular giant stuffed monkey.