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Snub-nosed monkey can't stop sneezing when it rains

Snub-nosed monkey, newly discovered in a remote forest in Myanmar, has a nose that is upturned, causing it to sneeze whenever it rains.

A new type of snub-nosed monkey is seen in this undated handout of an artist rendering. The monkey, dubbed Rhinopithecus strykeri, been found in a remote forested region of northern Myanmar that is under threat from logging and a Chinese dam project, scientists said Wednesday.

Dr Thomas Geissmann/Fauna & Flora International/Reuters

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Almost by definition, species unknown to science are often tough to track down. But researchers seeking out a new species of primate in northern Myanmar were assured by locals that the monkeys aren't hard to find at all. You just have to wait for it to rain.

The new species, a previously unknown type of snub-nosed monkey dubbed Rhinopithecus strykeri, has a nose so upturned that the animals sneeze audibly when it rains. To avoid inhaling water, the monkeys supposedly sit with their heads tucked between their knees on drizzly days, according to local hunters.

The discovery, reported today (Oct. 26) in the American Journal of Primatology, was made by biologists from the Myanmar Biodiversity and Nature Conservation Association and primatologists from Fauna and Flora International and the People Resources and Biodiversity Foundation.

The research team was working on a survey of gibbons in northeastern Myanmar in early 2010 when villagers told them about a monkey with an odd nose and prominent lips. Based on the descriptions, the researchers suspected the locals were seeing snub-nosed monkeys, threatened primates previously found only in China and Vietnam.

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