Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Pygmy Tarsier: Don't call me a Furby

In what is possibly the cutest scientific discovery ever, researchers from Texas A&M University discovered a small group of pygmy tarsiers, a rare breed of primates that look an awful lot like Gremlins. Some say they look like Furby's, but those things have and always will be, annoying as all hell. So I'll go with Gremlins.

Sharon Gursky-Doyen of Texas A&M and student Nanda Grow set out in August of 2008 to look for the tiny creatures on Mount Rore Katimbo in Lore Lindu National Park in Central Sulawesi, Indonesia. They chose that exact place because in 2000, two Indonesian scientists accidentally trapped and killed a pygmy tarsier. Other than that, the last time one of these elusive creatures had been spotted was in the 1920s.

In 2008, two males and a female pygmy tarsier were fitted with tracking devices. Through the radio collars, the researchers learned that the pygmy tarsiers use their legs to hop across the treetops. They hope to gather more information through studying the creatures. Perhaps we'll find out if they are offended over being compared to Furbys?

The research was funded bythe Primate Conservation Incorporated, Conservation International Primate Action Fund, Texas A and National Geographic Society.