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New “Skywalker” ape species discovered in China, already endangered – VIDEO

Scientists discovered a new ape species, living in eastern Myanmar and southwestern China. The new primate species was named skywalker hoolock gibbon after the iconic “Star Wars” character Luke Skywalker.

The new species is also known as the Gaoligong hoolock gibbon, named for Mt. Gaoligong on the border between China and Myanmar.

A jungle Jedi on the brink of extinction

In Chinese, the Skywalker gibbon bears the name “Heaven’s movement”. Its finders thought it appropriate then to baptize the ape after a gravity-defying Jedi. So did Mark Hamill, the actor who played Luke Skywalker in the Star Wars series.

The word “hoolock” refers to the sub-type of gibbon, which live across much of Asia. Hoolocks are endangered, according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature, which keeps track of species around the world.

The researchers estimate there are fewer than 200 skywalker hoolock gibbons living in China. Generally,  all hoolock gibbons have white eyebrows and some have white beards, but the skywalker hoolock gibbon has distinctive downturned brows.

Alexa Stewart