Saturday, October 15, 2005
New, Delicious Species Discovered
MANAUS, BRAZIL—An international team of scientists conducting research in the Amazon River Basin announced the discovery of a formerly unknown primate species inhabiting a remote jungle area roughly 300 miles from Manaus Monday. According to scientists in Manaus, the new species, Ateles saporis, is "an amazing biological find" and "incredibly delectable."
A member of Ateles saporis, which scientists say tastes excellent broiled (below).
"We couldn't be more thrilled!" German researcher Dr. Jerome Keller told reporters Tuesday. "Very few scientists are lucky enough to discover a new species, let alone a mammal with a palatability on par with a tender, juicy steak."
"This is a seriously tasty creature," Keller added.
Although the creature resembles a large kitten, as a member of the Ateles genus, it is more closely related to wooly and spider monkeys. Ateles saporis, informally known as the delicacy ape, is a tree-dwelling herbivore that can measure up to a meter from head to tail. The adult delicacy ape weighs between 35 and 40 pounds and tastes wonderful with a currant glaze.
Keller said the new species boasts a gular sac, a distinctive trait that separates it from other species in the Ateles genus.
"The gular sac is a throat pouch that can be inflated, allowing the animal to make loud calls that resonate through the treetops," Keller said. "More importantly, the pouch can be stuffed with nuts or dried fruits prior to roasting."
Biologist Jeanette Bransky, who served as the research team's chief archivist, presented a series of slides showing delicacy apes cavorting in trees, caring for their young, and sitting thinly sliced on a platter next to roasted red potatoes.
"After careful study, we have determined that Ateles saporis is a very insulated species," Bransky said. "All of their food needs are met in the treetops. They're docile, affectionate creatures with a non-competitive social structure. They often sit grooming each other for hours on end, which explains why their meat is so marbled and tender."
This marks the first primate species discovered since the nearly inedible Arunachal macaque was found in India last year.
"In our studies of the delicacy ape, we have noted several traits, such as play activities, that are almost human," Bransky said. "However, the similarities do not run much deeper than that. Take the loin, for example. Unlike a human's, it's so savory and delicate that it can be eaten just like sashimi."
"Raw or cooked, this species is one of the greatest discoveries of the 21st century," added Bransky, licking her lips.
The team plans to research the species for another two months and then publish its findings in both the International Journal Of Primatology and Bon Appétit.
"We still need to complete an accurate population-density study," Keller said. "We assume that their habitat is limited to the Amazon and that their total number is very small. We need to gather data quickly, as the species is almost certainly facing extinction. I mean, it's that good."
Keller said the discovery of the delicacy ape underscores the importance of protecting delicate ecosystems from mass deforestation.
"The Amazon River Basin boasts the greatest biodiversity in the world, with countless potentially tasty species waiting to be discovered," Keller said. "As for the delicacy ape, I only hope there's something we can do to preserve it. Maybe we can get them to breed in captivity. Generations to come should have the opportunity to enjoy the taste of this majestic creature."