Top 10 New Species of 2012: 4. The Congolese Cercopithecus (Time)
No one knows what counts as deep contemplation for a monkey, but judging by facial expression alone, the newly identified Cercopithecus Lomaniensis must have a lot on its mind. That’s fair enough, since the humans who discovered it devoted at least three years of hard work to studying the unusual beast—mainly trying to determine if it’s a new species at all. In 2009, an team of American researchers led by John Hart, scientific director for the Lukuru Wildlife Research Foundation, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, came across the monkey tied to a post near a Congo home. The animal, which had been adopted by a local girl after its mother had been killed, seemed familiar enough that it could belong to a common species known as a Lesula monkey, but unusual enough that it could also be a new type of previously identified owl monkey. It took painstaking comparisons of owl and Lesula calls, DNA, and skin texture before the investigators concluded that yes, this one was entirely new.