Earth's Newest Primate Is The Skywalker Hoolock Gibbon

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I am a gibbon, like my father before me.

With its existence announced Tuesday in the American Journal of Primatology, the new species -- from eastern Myanmar and southwestern China -- is named for Luke Skywalker.

There's two reasons for this. The first is that Hoolock tianxing's Chinese translation is "heaven's movement" -- which makes sense, since gibbons' long arms and legs evolved to let the primate swing more easily between trees. The second, more obvious explanation is that the scientists that discovered the "jungle Jedi" are just big Star Wars fans. And, let's be honest, they kinda have big Ewok faces.

The new species is genetically distinct from other Hoolock leuconedys gibbons in the region, and can be distinguished with different brown or black coloration of the eyebrows, beard and genital tufts. Longtime Skywalker Mark Hamill, of course, is pretty stoked the new gibbon's existence.

I for one can't wait 'til I see one of these guys swingin' through the canopy on its way to Tosche Station to pick up some power converters.

[Nat Geo / American Journal of Primatology]

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