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Found: A Fluffy Monkey Scientists Last Observed in the 1930s

A team on a houseboat found the Vanzolini’s bald-faced saki in a Brazilian forest.

The Vanzolini’s bald-faced saki was last observed in the wild by scientists in the 1930s, and it was a very different kind of monkey. Distinguished by its fluffy tail, golden arm fur, and Beatles bowl-cut, the bald-face saki was thought to be a subspecies of related monkey. But in 2014, ecologist Laura K. Marsh argued that the Vanzolini’s bald-faced saki monkey was its own species and earlier this year set out to find one in the Amazon.

As Mongabay reports, she and her team were successful.

Traveling along Brazil’s Juruá river in a two-story houseboat, the team kept a watch for the unique monkey. After the monkey was first identified by an Ecuadorian naturalist in 1936, no scientist had observed a live specimen of the monkey. (Two dead specimens were recorded in 1956, and one killed for bush meat was found more recently.)

On the fourth day of the expedition, the team’s field guide spotted a dark monkey moving through the trees. Its fluffy tail gave it away—it was a Vanzolini’s bald-faced saki.