New Macaque Species Discovered In Arunachal Pradesh; Named After ‘Sela Pass’

Posted in Arunachal Pradesh, Featured, Northeast


  • NET Web Desk

A team of experts from the Zoological Survey of India (ZSI) and the University of Calcutta have identified a new macaque species in Arunachal Pradesh, which has been dubbed after ‘Sela Pass’ – a strategic mountain range located at 13,700 ft above sea level.

The new species named as ‘Sela Macaque’ (Macaca selai) was found along the state’s western and central regions; informed the ZSI Director – Dhriti Banerjee.

“Scientists gathered a few samples and ran a rigorous phylogenetic analysis, and we discovered that this monkey is genetically distinct from the other species in the area,” she explained.

This study has been published in the latest edition of Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution.

According to The Hindu report, the phylogenetic analysis revealed that the Sela macaque was geographically isolated from the Arunachal macaque (Macaca munzala) in Tawang district.

This mountain pass operated as a barrier by restricting the migration of individuals of these two species for approximately two million years, informed the ZSI scientist – Mukesh Thakur.

Meanwhile, the Sela macaque is genetically similar to the Arunachal macaque and has numerous  morphological characteristics, such as – a large build and long dorsal body hair. There are several distinct morphological traits; Thakur continued.

Thakur explained that the Arunachal macaque has a black face and a dark brown coat, whereas the Sela macaque has a light face and a brown coat. Sela macaque is a major cause of crop destruction in West Kameng area, according to villagers; he further added.

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