We are finishing this month of our holiday animals from around the world with the Golden Snub-nosed Monkey. These primates are specialist at elevation and in the snow. More importantly, all 5 species of snub-nosed monkeys are endangered. Some even critically endangered. Listen more to this weeks episode to learn more about these remote living distant cousins.
Golden Snub-Nosed Monkey
These monkeys are “Old World” monkeys from the Family Cercopithecidae. They are part of the subfamily Colobinae. This includes 61 species of primates from 11 different genera. The Golden Snub-nosed monkey is from the genera Rhinopithecus, with a scientific name of Rhinopothecus roxellana. There are also three subspecies of Golden Snub-nosed Monkeys and all are considered Endangered.
Other species of snub-nosed monkeys include:
- Yunnan snub-nosed monkey, Rhinopithecus bieti, Endangered
- Guizhou snub-nosed monkey, Rhinopithecus brelichi, Endangered
- Tonkin snub-nosed monkey, Rhinopithecus avunculus, Critically Endangered
- Myanmar or black snub-nosed monkey, Rhinopithecus strykeri, Critically Endangered
Not much is known specifically about Snub-nosed monkey evolution. It is known primates emerged from the 5th Mass Extinction around 55 million years ago. The earliest known primate species looked like a lemur of today. The first “true” primates emerged around 40 to 35 million years ago across North America, Asia, Europe and Africa. The “Old World” primates emerged in Africa around 24 million years ago, eventually spreading to Asia. The Golden Snub-nosed monkeys closest ancestor lived approximately 1.8 million years ago.
Also, since these primates live at high elevation, up to 13,000 feet (4000 meters), not much is known. Behavioral studies have shown these monkeys have behaviors very similar to their cousins. However, these monkeys have adapted to live at altitude such as having greater blood carrying capacity for carrying oxygen and their long hairy coats.
Here are some videos of Golden Snub-nosed Monkeys in the snow: