Mystery Primate of South America .
Etymology: Quechua (Quechuan), “strong
Variant names: Camuenare (Amuesha /
Arawakan, “father of the monkeys”), Maemi
(Machiguenga/Arawakan), Ma jero (Yine/
Arawakan), Maquisapa maman (Spanish,
“mother of the spider monkeys”).
Physical description: Height, 4 feet, or about
twice the size of a spider monkey. Covered in
short, thick, bl ack or dark-brown hair. Muscul ar.
Bl ack face. Snout is l ike a mandril l ’s. Long teeth.
Barrel -chested. Thick arms. Hands have nail s,
not cl aws. Huge thighs. Thick tail , 6 inches l ong.
Behavior: Arboreal . Usual l y sol itary but is said
to tra vel in groups of up to twenty. Tra vel s with
spider monkey troops. Atta cks by running on its
hind l egs. Feeds on wil d fruits and the shoots of
the Chonta palm (Euterpe precatoria), which it
rips apart in a characteristic way. Makes pl atforms
in trees for resting.
Habitat: Mountainous forest at al titudes of
Distribution: Peru, from Loreto Department
in the north, through Yanachaga-Chemil l én
National Park, to the Cordil l era Urubamba.
Significant sighting: Ecuadorean botanist Benigno
Mal o saw a l arge, bl ack ape al ong the
Ecuador-Peru border in 1985 and managed to
take a photograph before it moved away. The
l ocation of the photo is currentl y unknown.
(1) The Spectacl ed bear (Tremarctos ornatus)
is bl ack and l ives in the area. It occasional l y
cl imbs trees to rea ch fruit. However, its
white eye rings woul d be hard to mista ke.
(2) An unknown species of monkey.