News with a bite

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Recently, a research team comprised of scientists from Canada, the US, the Czech Republic, and Indonesia set up cameras all throughout the Borneonean jungles in Malaysia, looking to find signs of various monkeys that inhabit the region. During this expedition, led by Simon Fraser University PhD student Brent Loken, photos were taken that resulted in the raising of a monkey from the dead.

Raised from the dead metaphorically, of course.  This rediscovered monkey is Presbytis hosei canicrus, also known as Miller’s Grizzled Langur, or more frighteningly as the Dracula Monkey. Not only was this particular species of monkey thought not to inhabit the far eastern reaches of Borneo, but it was thought to have gone extinct decades ago.   

The findings of Loken’s Ethical Expeditions team have been published in The American Journal of Primatology. Next summer, Loken plans to return to the jungles of Borneo to conduct further study on the Dracula Monkey. One can assume that hilarity will ensue.

As interesting as this might be to biologists, for the average person I think this once again recalls George Carlin’s thoughts on the subject: “The two pandas in the zoo? Do you care if they fuck? I don’t. Why do they tell me on the news that the pandas didn’t fuck again this year?!”

This raises an interesting point.   As a global force, humans have always killed off other species. As a matter of fact, we’ve become pretty adept at it. We don’t have to worry about any animal. Has the quality of your life been significantly impacted by the “extinction” and rediscovery of this monkey?
I’ll do you one even better: what has the Dracula monkey done for you lately? Has it watched your dog while you were on vacation? Helped you build your house? Lend you change for parking? I’ll bet not.

So why do we need to know that the Dracula monkey is alive and kicking? What does this monkey contribute to the world? The world seemed to turn just fine being completely ignorant of the continuation of this particular species of monkey – which bears no resemblance to Gary Oldman, I might add. Hell, it doesn’t need to be an insatiable, bloodsucking creature of the night like its name implies. That, I think, is asking too much. But even if it flew from treetop to treetop with little, leathery wings, I would be fine. That would be newsworthy, my friend.

As it stands, we’ve got a misleadingly named monkey with no benefits to offer.  It’s not cute, it’s not bloodsucking, it’s not bearded, it’s not going to be in a petting zoo, it’s not going to be in a family-friendly CGI picture – it’s a useless specimen.

I hate to make waves here, but come on! Thousands upon thousands of dollars were allocated towards funding these Ethical Expeditions, and yet we still haven’t seen a government grant aimed at recreating Jurassic Park. The next time I hear about the Dracula monkey, it had better be because a gang of them squared off against a rival gang of velociraptors in the streets of downtown Vancouver. That will catch my interest.

Kyle Leitch
Contributor

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