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Jan 15, 2017 06:28 AM EST

Star Wars Scientist-Fans Give 'Skywalker' Name To New Gibbon Species

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Skywalker was coined by Star Wars-loving scientists to a newly-discovered gibbon species. This Skywalker hoolick gibbon that resides in southwest China's forests, delighted actor Mark Hamill, who acted as the character in Star Wars, according to CNN.

A tweet was posted by Hamili stating he was proud that the "Jungle Jedi" and "Simian Skywalker" was discovered in the Gaogligong mountain forests.

Research team

Sun Yat-Sen University in Guangzhou Professor Fan Pengei led the research team. His team as well as the experts from the Zoological Society of London ZSL has been studying the primates since 2008.

These scientists are knowledgeable about the western and eastern hoolocks that lived in the mountain forests.

These researchers made a study regarding the gibbons coat patterns, genetic characteristics, and teeth. Their study regarding the animals in the wild and captivity made them recommend for the recognition of a third species. This recommendation was published in a paper in the American Journal of Primatology. This third species, called the Skywalker hoolock, is scientifically to be called as Hoolock tianxing.

Endangered species

These newly-named Skywalker gibbons are already an endangered species. These gibbons have only an hundred in China. Myanmar has an unknown number of gibbons. All of these are endangered from hunting and habitat loss, according to Radio Times.

The team is calling the attention of the International Union for Conservation of Nature to immediately label the gibbon with an endangered status as this faces that same risk as other small ape species.

Meaning of Tianxing

The Chinese term Tianxing is defined as "heaven's movement" or "skywalker." This implies the gibbons treetop home as well as the historical Chinese perception of these as mystical beings.

Samuel Turvey, a member of the research team, said that increased awareness of Gaoligong mountains ecosystem will ensure that the scientific community becomes acquainted with this exciting new species before it is too late.

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