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Scientists claim new gibbon species _ name it Skywalker

Associated Press logo Associated Press 1/11/2017

LONDON (AP) — Researchers in China claim they have identified a new species of gibbon in the remote forests along its border with Burma — and have named it after Star Wars character Luke Skywalker.

Scientists studying hoolock gibbons on China's Mount Gaoligong concluded there were two, not one, species based on both the primate's distinctive brow and a genetic analysis. The study was published in the American Journal of Primatology.

The proposed new species is called the Skywalker hoolock gibbon or Gaoligong hoolock gibbon. The Chinese characters of its scientific name mean "Heaven's movement."

Outside experts are split on whether it's enough to justify new species status.

Actor Mark Hamill, who played Skywalker in the film, tweeted: "So proud of this! First the Pez dispenser, then the Underoos & U.S. postage stamp... now this!"

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