pygmy tarsiers found alive in Indonesia!
fox news " Mouse-sized primates called pygmy tarsiers, not seen alive in 85 years, have come out of hiding from a mountaintop in a cloud forest in Indonesia.
Weighing just 2 ounces (57 grams), they resemble mini-gremlin creatures, as they have big eyes and are covered in dense coats of fur to keep warm in a damp, chilly habitat.
Unlike most other primates that sport fingernails, pygmy tarsiers have claws, which scientists say might be an adaptation to grasping onto moss-covered trees.
The recent sighting has conservation implications. And researchers said they hope that with new information about where the species lives, the Indonesian government will protect them from the encroaching development occurring in the animals' home range.
The last sighting of this primate alive was in 1921 when live specimens were collected and processed for a museum collection.
Decades went by without another sighting. And scientists thought the pygmy tarsier (Tarsius pumilus) had possibly gone extinct.
Then, in 2000, two Indonesian scientists who were trapping rats on Mt. Rore Katimbo in Lore Lindu National Park in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia, reported they had accidentally trapped and killed a pygmy tarsier.
So Sharon Gursky-Doyen of Texas A&M University and her grad student Nanda Grow, along with a group of Indonesian locals, went looking for the teacup-sized primates on that same mountaintop.
This past summer, the team trapped two males and a female. They placed radio collars on the animals for tracking.
Since pygmy tarsiers can turn their heads 180 degrees, this process can be dangerous, as Gursky-Doyen found out.
"I have the dubious honor of being the only person in the world to have been bitten by [a pygmy tarsier]," Gursky-Doyen told LiveScience. "My field assistant was holding the tarsier and I was attaching a radio collar around its neck and while I was attaching the radio collar he bit me [on the finger]."
The female has since been eaten by a hawk, Gursky-Doyen said.