Scientists have discovered a new species of gibbon living in south-west China’s rainforests.
It has been named the Skywalker Hoolock Gibbon by its discoverers, who are Star Wars fans.
The name is also a nod to the fact that the Chinese characters Hoolock tianxing, mean “Heaven’s movement.”
The research team, led by Fan Peng-Fei from Sun Yat-sen University in China, first suspected that the gibbons they were studying in Gaoligongshan nature reserve were different. They lacked typical facial markings of white eyebrows and beards.
Gibbons are renowned for their loud song, which they use to mark territory, and this also sounded unusual.
The scientists estimate that about 200 Skywalker gibbons are living in China and also potentially in neighbouring Myanmar, but say that the species should already be classified as endangered.
Habitat loss and fragmentation is putting the gibbons at risk of extinction.