ADVERTISEMENT
  About the SA Blog Network













Tetrapod Zoology

Tetrapod Zoology


Amphibians, reptiles, birds and mammals - living and extinct
Tetrapod Zoology Home

Mystery mammal, badly photographed

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.


Email   PrintPrint



Play the game and see if you can identify the mammal shown here. The photo’s a bit rubbish, but that’s deliberate in order to make this more of a challenge. As always, the winner receives a smug sense of self-satisfaction. Let battle commence! (and, yes, this is an effort to get more than c. 20 comments, so don’t be shy).

UPDATE (added 26th Sept 2011): And the answer is…. well done to those of you who identified it as an Allen’s swamp monkey Allenopithecus nigroviridis (Bret Newton and Dartian) – this is the right answer. Some of the more peculiar features of this species aren’t visible (pointed ears, facial disk, white chin), but the stocky proportions (more like those of a macaque than a guenon), rather homogenous, olive-khaki coat colour, proportionally short tail and suggestion of a wide-cheeked face should have distinguished it from other cercopithecids. The tail should come to a point and not be blunt as it is in this animal – maybe the tip was damaged. It was photographed in captivity in the UK, hence the temperate flora. Bit disappointed that no-one identified it as a ropen or gorgonopsian, but otherwise, thanks for playing.

Darren Naish About the Author: Darren Naish is a science writer, technical editor and palaeozoologist (affiliated with the University of Southampton, UK). He mostly works on Cretaceous dinosaurs and pterosaurs but has an avid interest in all things tetrapod. His publications can be downloaded at darrennaish.wordpress.com. He has been blogging at Tetrapod Zoology since 2006. Check out the Tet Zoo podcast at tetzoo.com! Follow on Twitter @TetZoo.

The views expressed are those of the author and are not necessarily those of Scientific American.





Rights & Permissions

Comments 29 Comments

Add Comment
  1. 1. kayi2011 6:54 am 09/24/2011

    Stab in the dark but maybe a guenon? I was thinking possibly a blue monkey, Cercopithecus mitis?

    Link to this
  2. 2. Matt vR 7:23 am 09/24/2011

    Is it a L’Hoest’s monkey?

    Link to this
  3. 3. Richard Forrest 7:32 am 09/24/2011

    macaque?

    Link to this
  4. 4. Loyoyostuff 8:01 am 09/24/2011

    Cercopithecine of some form – a species of Macaque at a guess…?!

    Link to this
  5. 5. Bret Newton 8:18 am 09/24/2011

    Allen’s Swamp Monkey (Allenopithecus nigroviridis)

    Link to this
  6. 6. OwnerOfATemporarilyLonelyHeart 9:25 am 09/24/2011

    “Marco Tedesco says:”

    I’d say Cercopithecus albogularis or C. mitis.

    Link to this
  7. 7. Cameron McCormick 9:48 am 09/24/2011

    My initial gut feeling was an Olive Baboon Papio anubis… I’ll give this some more thought though.

    Link to this
  8. 8. Dartian 10:47 am 09/24/2011

    Bret: “Allen’s Swamp Monkey (Allenopithecus nigroviridis)

    This. (Notice the relatively short tail.)

    Link to this
  9. 9. EricMJohnson 11:17 am 09/24/2011

    Cercopithecus ascanius schmidti.

    Link to this
  10. 10. MikeTaylor 11:22 am 09/24/2011

    Is it a very blurry photo of Lionel Mallison?

    Link to this
  11. 11. Crocuta 12:49 pm 09/24/2011

    It looks almost too stocky to be a guenon, but the markings on the face and the head shape don’t look like a macaque. The thing that’s throwing me off is looks like a temperate forest. And if it’s a guenon are parts of africa temperate?

    Link to this
  12. 12. BilBy 3:30 pm 09/24/2011

    Not a C. mitis I think- at least not like a southern one, which I’m familiar with. Like the idea of an Allen’s swamp monkey, but I’ll see your swamp monkey and raise you a Bale monkey, C djamdjamensis

    Link to this
  13. 13. greg_t_laden 4:23 pm 09/24/2011

    Mona monkey fer sure.

    Link to this
  14. 14. Suttkus 6:06 pm 09/24/2011

    It’s just a guy in a monkey suit. You can’t fool me!

    Link to this
  15. 15. Allen Hazen 7:54 pm 09/24/2011

    The word that sprang unbidden to my lips as I looked at the photo was “baboon,” but I don’t know my monkeys in any detail. So: some sort of cercopithecid(*) is all I’m really confident of. (I don’t see much disagreement on that point, though, looking at responses 1-9 and 11-13.)

    (*) Umm. Some Old-World Monkey: was Cercopithecidae sensu lato at least once used with that coverage, or should i just stop using big words?

    Link to this
  16. 16. imhennessy 8:00 pm 09/24/2011

    skipped the comments to put out this, unadulturated by knowledge, opinion: It’s a monkey, and I’m guessing a macaque, but Wikipedia was quite uncooperative in providing a picture with exactly lighting situation and orientation of subject.
    Now, I’ll read the comments and see what everyone else thinks.

    Link to this
  17. 17. WillemvanderMerwe 11:33 am 09/25/2011

    My first thought on seeing that was a blue monkey, Cercopithecus mitis. The tail might appear short because of being at an angle to the camera. It doesn’t seem like an Allen’s Swamp Monkey to me. The general sturdy appearance seems to rule out the more slender species like the Mona monkey. It might be a macaque… I don’t know those well at all.

    Link to this
  18. 18. BilBy 1:00 pm 09/25/2011

    It’s the short-looking tail that is getting to me. It might be a mitis/albogularus after all, but the tail still looks odd.

    Link to this
  19. 19. longhile 4:09 pm 09/25/2011

    it could be a Samango monkey (Cercopithecus albogularis) from Eastern and Southern Africa; i have seen the South African subspecies in the wild, and its colour is very similar to the one of the specimen in the picture.

    Link to this
  20. 20. Heteromeles 5:38 pm 09/25/2011

    Tail might have gotten bitten off. Without a good view of the face, you have to be a Cercopithecologist to figure this one out.

    There’s your twenty, Darren.

    Link to this
  21. 21. BilBy 7:59 pm 09/25/2011

    @longhile – I dunno, it looks too monochrome to be a samango; I’ve seen them lots of times – but you know, I’m probably wrong, it’s pretty fuzzy pic and like heteromeles says, it might have lost its tail tip

    Link to this
  22. 22. Dartian 2:09 am 09/26/2011

    That’s not any species of Cercopithecus. Cercopithecus (and Chlorocebus) don’t have ‘sexual swelling’. Allenopithecus has (i.e., the individual in the photograph is a female).

    Allen: “I don’t know my monkeys in any detail

    You, of all people, should at the very least familiarize yourself with the species known as, ahem, Allen’s swamp monkey. ;)

    Link to this
  23. 23. naishd 4:23 am 09/26/2011

    And the answer is… well done to those of you who identified it as an Allen’s swamp monkey Allenopithecus nigroviridis (Bret Newton and Dartian) – this is the right answer. Some of the more peculiar features of this species aren’t visible (pointed ears, facial disk, white chin), but the stocky proportions (more like those of a macaque than a guenon), rather homogenous, olive-khaki coat colour, proportionally short tail and suggestion of a wide-cheeked face should have distinguished it from other cercopithecids. The tail should come to a point and not be blunt as it is in this animal – maybe the tip was damaged. It was photographed in captivity in the UK, hence the temperate flora. Bit disappointed that no-one identified it as a ropen or gorgonopsian, but otherwise, thanks for playing.

    Darren

    Link to this
  24. 24. Desert Navy 5:31 am 09/26/2011

    How could it be a gorgonopsian when you initially said it was a mammal?

    Link to this
  25. 25. Bret Newton 12:28 pm 09/26/2011

    Woo-hoo. What do I win? I get to see this species at work all the time. It is pretty recognizable due to its odd body proportions.

    Link to this
  26. 26. Symbiartic.km 12:13 pm 09/27/2011

    shameless ploy to get comments, Darren. Brilliant!! :)

    Link to this
  27. 27. naishd 12:31 pm 09/27/2011

    You got it :) Once upon a time I could bank on c. 20 comments guaranteed… alas, these are desperate times.

    Darren

    Link to this
  28. 28. naishd 12:33 pm 09/27/2011

    Desert Navy (comment 24): “How could it be a gorgonopsian when you initially said it was a mammal?”. True, but there’s noble tradition to consider (the tradition of Tet Zoo ‘guess the animal’ articles, not the tradition of synapsid evolution or anything).

    Darren

    Link to this
  29. 29. BilBy 2:59 pm 09/27/2011

    Darren: “Once upon a time I could bank on c. 20 comments guaranteed… alas, these are desperate times.” Recent comments sidebar would help :) Go on, twist Sci Am’s arm.

    Link to this

Add a Comment
You must sign in or register as a ScientificAmerican.com member to submit a comment.

More from Scientific American

Scientific American Holiday Sale

Black Friday/Cyber Monday Blow-Out Sale

Enter code:
HOLIDAY 2014
at checkout

Get 20% off now! >

X

Email this Article

X