Thursday, May 03, 2007

The World's Strangest Looking Monkey

Among the world's strangest looking monkeys is the snub-nosed langur, the species I chose for my third primate pastel.

Many monkeys, and this one in particular, bare a striking resemblance to our depictions of extraterrestrial beings, a coincidence noticed by feminist historian of science and technology, Donna Haraway, in her thought-provoking but dense tome, Primate Visions. If you're curious about the connection Haraway draws between primatology, cybernetics, and space exploration, her book is fairly reviewed by (male) primatologist Robin Dunbar here.

The golden or snub-nosed langur (rhinopithecus roxellana) is a rare species that lives in temperarate broad-leaf and coniferous mountain forests in southwestern China near Tibet. They live in huge troops which have been known to join up from time to time in bands that can contain to 600 individuals. This is very unusual for a primate species. Most live in much, much smaller groups.

Like many other "old world monkeys," the snub-nosed langur's basic grouping pattern consists of one male with 3-4 females and their offspring. Such groups are called "one male units" or OMUs, aka harems.

You can view photos and even video clips of this neat primate at a really neat website called Check it out! It's really cool.


John Dennehy said...

Huh... funny you should say that. I was just looking at a photo I took of a male silverback at the SD zoo and thinking how I could swear he looked like an alien that I've seen in a movie or somewhere... weird.

Alasdair said...

I really love how you did the eyes - piercing and a little haunting. Pretty darn good, pastel lady.