Tiniest Primate Recently Rediscovered in Indonesia

Pygmy tarsierVery cute, isn’t it? We call it pygmy tarsier. Weighing about 57 grammes, this species is one of the world’s smallest and rarest primates. They have large eyes and large ears. Until now it was presumed that the pygmy tarsiers were extinct, with the last sighting in the wild dating back to 1921.

The scientists for the first time in more than eight decades have observed a living pygmy tarsier on a Sulawesi Island’s mountain. Over two month, the scientists used nets to trap three specimens of pygmy tarsier (two males and one female) on Mountain Rore Katimbo in Lore Lindu National Park, Central Sulawesi province.

The tarsiers may not have been too thrilled to be found. One of them chomped Sharon Gursky-Doyen, a Texas A&M University professor of anthropology who took part in the expedition.

“My assistant was trying to hold him still while I was attaching a radio collar around its neck. It’s very hard to hold them because they can turn their heads around 180 degrees. As I’m trying to close the radio collar, he turned his head and nipped my finger. And I yanked it and I was bleeding,” said Sharon.

Then the collars were being attached so these tarsiers’ movements could be tracked.

The tarsiers are nocturnal insectivores and are unusual primates, because they have claws rather than finger nails. The handful of tarsier species live on various Asian islands. They had not been seen alive by scientists since 1921. In 2000, Indonesian scientists who were trapping rats in the Sulawesi highlands accidentally trapped and killed a pygmy tarsier.

Pygmy tarsier“Until that time, everyone really didn’t believe that they existed because people had been going out looking for them for decades and nobody had seen them or heard them,” told Sharon. [from many sources, photos from Reuters]


Pygmy tarsiers (spesies kera termungil di dunia), kembali ditemukan. Berbobot sekitar 57 gram, hewan nokturnal ini terjebak dalam jaring yang sengaja dipasang para peneliti. Satwa asli Sulawesi Tengah ini terakhir terlihat pada tahun 1921. Sejak itu, mereka diduga telah punah. Tapi penemuan ini membuktikan kebalikan dari dugaan tersebut.


5 Replies to “Tiniest Primate Recently Rediscovered in Indonesia”

  1. Brahmanto Anindito Post author

    Hi, Tarsier Fans. Thanks for dropping by. Euh … I’m not a scientist, so me myself, I don’t see a different between tarsiers. They all looks so cute to me. ^_^

    But classifically, Philippine tarsier (Tarsius syrichta) is different from Indonesian tarsiers. Here’s the result of my browsing:

    “A number of relatives of the Philippine tarsier can be found: Bornean tarsier (Tarsius bancanus) of Borneo and Sumatra, the spectral tarsier (Tarsius spectrum), the lesser spectral tarsier or pygmy tarsier (Tarsius pumilus), and Dian’s tarsier (Tarsius dianae) of Sulawesi, Indonesia. The pygmy tarsier, by the way, is considerably smaller than the Philippine tarsier.”

    So, I’m sure, the word “rarest” is not for tarsiers in your country ^_^.


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