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Star Wars-loving scientists name new gibbon species ‘Skywalker’, and actor and fans can’t have enough of it

Named as the Skywalker hoolock gibbon partly because the Chinese characters of its scientific name mean "Heaven's movement" and also because the scientists are fans of Star Wars.

By: Trends Desk |
January 14, 2017 3:35:21 pm
star wars, luke skywalker, skywalker gibbon, starwars character primate, new primate skywalker, new species named skywalker, luke sykwalker, mark hamhill, trending news, weird news, latest news The newly-discovered Skywalker gibbon is threatened by habitat loss and hunting and the scientists argue that it should be classified as endangered. (Source: @OfficialZSL/ Twitter)

Thanks to some scientists, who are fans of epic space opera franchise ‘Star Wars,’ a new gibbon species living in the tropical forests of south-west China has been named to honour Luke Skywalker. The newly-discovered Skywalker gibbon is threatened by habitat loss and hunting and scientists argue that it should be classified as ‘endangered.’ Skywalker is the main protagonist of the film franchise.

The species has been named Skywalker hoolock gibbon partly because the Chinese characters of its scientific name mean “Heaven’s movement” and also because the scientists are fans of Star Wars, reported the BBC.

The exciting news about the Skywalker hoolock gibbon was greeted with delight by none other that Mark Hamill himself who played the popular character in the films. Fans were ecstatic by the news and many shared hilarious side-by-side photographs of apes and Hamill’s characters on Twitter. Some even initiated a photoshop challenge showing the gibbons in Star Wars-themed costumes and weapons.

Hoolock gibbons are mostly found in Bangladesh, India, China and Myanmar. They spend most of their time living in the treetops, swinging through the forests with their forelimbs, rarely spending any time on the ground and so far only two species have been identified.

Some recent studies suggested that a team of researchers studying the gibbons in China’s province were different from the rest and thus the third kind was identified. A research team led by Professor Fan Pengfei from Sun Yat-sen University in Guangzhou, and experts from the Zoological Society of London ZSL, has been studying the primates since 2008.

Here’s how Hamil reacted to the news

Here’s how Twitterati reacted to the news

The recent development was published in the American Journal of Primatology.

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