Startling discovery - the first new genus of living monkeys in 83 years

Zoologists have described the first new genus of African monkey in 83 years. The new species, named Rungwecebus kipunji, is so different from other monkeys that a new grouping had to be specially created, Register reports.

"The age of discovery is not yet over," said Field Museum mammal expert William Stanley, who helped identify the monkey and is a co-author of a report in the journal Science Express.

One of the newfound Rungwecebus kipunji monkeys is shown in Tanzania. A new genus was created for the monkeys, only 500 of which are known to exist. (Jim Davenport/Wildlife Conservation Society via AP)

There probably are no more than 500 kipunji left in the wild, and if the population drops much further, the monkeys could experience disastrous inbreeding and spiral to extinction, according to Chicago Sun-Times.

Kipunji is a "true conservation celebrity," said Wildlife Conservation Society conservationist Tim Davenport, lead author of the report.