But recent hard evidence of the Miss Waldron's red colobus' existence has rekindled McGraw's hopes of finding the primate, reportedly last seen in 1978. McGraw, an associate professor of anthropology at Ohio State University, details the evidence and his continuing search for the elusive monkey in a forthcoming issue of the International Journal of Primatology.
Miss Waldron's red colobus is a small, black monkey with reddish fur on its forehead and thighs. Researchers think that these primates once lived in large, noisy packs in the canopy rainforests of eastern Ivory Coast and western Ghana. Current evidence suggests that, if the monkey is still alive, it's range may be limited to the remote southeastern corner of Ivory Coast.
If the monkey were indeed extinct, it would be the first primate to have disappeared in 200 years.
McGraw has spent the better part of a decade traveling to Ivory Coast conducting research on various African monkeys, and always on the lookout for Miss Waldron's red colobus. To date, he has neither seen nor heard one.
Even so, the last few years have yielded some interesting evidence for McGraw. A year ago, he received a photo of what looks like an adult Miss Waldron's red colobus albeit a freshly killed one.
"This is the only known photograph of a Miss Waldron's red colobus, and it's dead," said an exasperated McGraw. "But everyone who knows anything about this primate says it's definitely a Miss Waldron's."
Two years ago, an Ivorian hunter gave McGraw the skin of a monkey with reddish markings. The man told McGraw that this monkey had been traveling with a pack of black and white colobus monkeys, and that he hadn't seen any ot
Contact: W. Scott McGraw
Ohio State University