The world’s smallest monkeys, the 100 gram pygmy marmosets are actually TWO species

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The smallest monkeys in the world, the 100 gram pygmy marmosets, belong to two different species

  • The world’s smallest monkeys, pygmy marmosets, are not one but actually two separate species
  • They are separated by their DNA and skull structure, but not by the color of the coat, as previously thought
  • Pygmy marmosets, which weigh just four ounces at maturity, are found in the Amazon region of South America
  • The range of the two species has also expanded to Ecuador and Peru, as well as Brazil
  • They were discovered by a German naturalist in 1823

The world’s smallest monkeys, the 100-gram pygmy marmosets, belong to two different species, a new study has found.

The research, published in the American Journal of Physical Anthropology, confirms that the two species are separated by their DNA and skull structure, but not by their coat color, as previously thought.

“Our study showed that the two species are indistinguishable by their coat color, but they are distinguishable by differences in their mitochondrial DNA and skull structure,” said the study’s lead author, biological anthropologist Leila Porter of Northern Illinois. a statement.

Contrary to previous findings, coat color appeared “highly variable” and not exclusive to one region or the other.

“Comparisons of their skull structure suggest they may have slightly different adaptations for foraging,” Porter added. ‘For example, they can gouge on different types of trees with different types of bark. In addition, there may be other behavioral and ecological differences between the species that have not been documented.’

A species is a group of organisms that share common characteristics and can reproduce with each other. For pygmy marmosets, the groups are somewhat separated by their DNA and differently shaped skulls, resulting in two species.

Pygmy marmosets, which weigh just four ounces at maturity, are found in the Amazon region of South America.

Researchers have found that the world's smallest monkey, the 100-gram pygmy monkey, is actually two species.  A 'northwestern' pygmy marmoset (pictured) from Ecuador

Researchers have found that the world’s smallest monkey, the 100-gram pygmy monkey, is actually two species. A ‘northwestern’ pygmy marmoset (pictured) from Ecuador

The study's lead author, Leila Porter (pictured), is seen measuring the skull of a pygmy marmoset in the collection of the American Museum of Natural History

The study’s lead author, Leila Porter (pictured), is seen measuring the skull of a pygmy marmoset in the collection of the American Museum of Natural History

In its full length, the entire body of the pygmy marmoset is only six inches.  The skull and upper jaw of a dwarf marmoset (photo) from the Field Museum collection

In its full length, the entire body of the pygmy marmoset is only six inches. The skull and upper jaw of a dwarf marmoset (photo) from the Field Museum collection

Samples were taken from 13 sites in South America to help the researchers come up with their findings.

The range of the two species has also expanded to Ecuador and Peru.

They were previously known as “eastern” and “western” pygmy monkeys, but Porter’s team recommends reclassifying them as “northwest” and “southern” for more accuracy.

The researchers suggested giving the two species the scientific names Cebuella pygmaea and Cebuella niveiventris. The second name is not yet official.

Pygmy marmosets, which live in family groups consisting of parents (male and female) and their children, are considered ‘cooperative breeders’, with the female usually giving birth and the male caring for the children and any older siblings.

At full length, their entire body is only six inches long.

By comparison, the largest ape, some male mandrills can grow over 3 feet in length and weigh nearly 80 pounds.

The new findings come after a 2018 study confirmed that there were two different species of pygmy marmosets living in Brazil.

This map of South America shows where the two pygmy marmoset species live

This map of South America shows where the two pygmy marmoset species live

In Ecuador, the species are separated by the Napo River, an offset from the Amazon.

They were discovered in 1823 by a German naturalist.

WHAT ARE PYGMY MARMOSETS?

Pygmy marmosets are the world’s smallest monkeys.

Researchers at the University of Salford in England recently discovered that the animals form two different species.

One of the species is found in northwestern South America, and members of the other live south of the Amazon River.

However, the scientists don’t yet know which of the two species should bear the name pygmy marmosets, which was originally given to both.

Pygmy marmosets (one of which is pictured above) are the smallest monkeys in the world, but they are not the smallest primates.  That title belongs to a species called the mouse lemur (file photo)

Pygmy marmosets (one of which is pictured above) are the smallest monkeys in the world, but they are not the smallest primates. That title belongs to a species called the mouse lemur (file photo)

The monkeys live up to 18 years in zoos and can survive for up to 12 years in the wild, according to the San Diego Zoo.

Their gestation period is four and a half months and they give birth to from one to three babies at a time.

They usually weigh 3 to 15 grams at birth and mature over the course of one and a half to two years.

Pygmy marmosets are 4.6 to 6.2 inches long and their tails can be up to nine inches.

Although the dwarf marmoset holds the title for the smallest monkey, it is not the smallest primate in the world.

Rather, a species called the mouse lemur is the smallest primate.

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