- Associated Press - Tuesday, September 2, 2014

NORMAN, Okla. (AP) - An Oklahoma researcher was a part of an international team of biologists that discovered a new subspecies of a small primate found only in Asia.

“What was shocking was we uncovered a completely distinctive population not on anyone’s radar,” said Cameron Siler of the University of Oklahoma. He is an assistant biology professor at the university and an assistant curator at the Sam Noble Oklahoma Museum of Natural History.

The researchers worked with the Philippine government in collecting DNA from tarsiers to help conservation efforts for them. Tarsiers have large eyes, short bodies and long ankle bones that allow them to leap from trees.

They also weigh between 3 to 6 ounces once they are fully grown. Siler said they are “really neat tiny, tiny primates,” but that they “can be vicious if you try to handle them.” The researchers wore heavy globes to handle the primates to collect ear clips for DNA samples, he said.

During their genetics research the team discovered the Dinagat-Caraga tarsier, which is currently classified as a subspecies of the primate, The Oklahoman reported (https://bit.ly/1pldQ9a ). The new type of primate was found on a small Philippine island.

Siler said genetic studies had never been done before on tarsiers and that it was “an enormous collaboration” that spanned more than four years.

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Information from: The Oklahoman, https://www.newsok.com

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