Pygmy Tarsiers Back from “Extinction”

Believed to be extinct, one of the world’s smallest and rarest primates had not been seen alive since 1921. But an Indonesian scientist expedition in 2000 proved decades of assumptions wrong. As reported by Reuters, the group was doing research in the Sulawesi highlands of Indonesia, when they accidentally trapped and killed an infamous pygmy tarsier. 

In August of last year, a group of American scientists traveled to the 6,900-foot mountaintops of Lore Lindu National Park and captured three others—two males and one female—the first live tarsiers seen in 87 years. They attached radio collars to the creatures’ necks in order to track their movements. 

Tarsiers are described as looking much like Gizmo from the movie Gremlins. They are the size of mice with little claws and large eyes and ears, weighing in at a mere two ounces. They have the ability to turn their heads 180 degrees and, as scientists found out the hard way, are not too shy to bite perceived predators.

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