Author(s): Mootnick AR, Fan PF, Mootnick AR, Fan PF
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Abstract Crested gibbons (Nomascus) are in the rarest genus of the family Hylobatidae, with the Hainan gibbon (Nomascus hainanus) being the rarest primate in the world. In the past, the number of species in this genus has been at the center of much controversy, in part, because their color changes during immaturity as well as other factors, such as physical similarities in genitalia, creating difficulties in accurately determining the sex of individuals. Furthermore, owing to their rarity, illusiveness, and the rough terrain that comprises their native habitat, Nomascus is one of the least studied Hylobatidae. This article represents the most comprehensive dissemination of visual characteristics of the genus Nomascus to assist in the accurate identification of captive and wild crested gibbons. Through differences in pelage color, skeletal anatomy, dentition, vocalizations, behavior, distribution, and genetic studies, we are able to determine more accurately whether or not a subspecies should be elevated to species level. From the current data, there are six species and one subspecies in the genus Nomascus. However, reports of a recently identified light-cheeked gibbon (Nomascus sp.) in northeast Cambodia, Central Vietnam, and South Lao PDR, will add additional taxa to this genus. © 2010 Wiley-Liss, Inc.
This article was published in Am J Primatol
and referenced in Journal of Primatology