'Star Wars' Hero Luke Skywalker Inspires Name for a Newly Discovered Primate Species

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Nick Schager
·Writer
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Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker
Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker

Rogue One: A Star Wars Story had a somewhat lackluster debut in China last weekend, but that doesn’t mean the country is lacking for Star Wars fanatics. Consider this week’s news about the discovery of a new primate species there — and the name that scientists have given it.

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As reported by the BBC, researchers have determined that a particular breed of gibbon that dwells in the forests of southwest China is, in fact, different from every other known variety of the primate. As such, they’ve decided to give the animals a name: “Skywalker hoolock gibbons.”

Found in China’s Yunnan Province, these primates boast somewhat different markings — and sing a slightly different tune — than their fellow gibbons, which is what tipped scientists off to the fact that they were an entirely new species. They also estimate that only about 200 such Skywalker hoolock gibbons exist in China (making them, potentially, an endangered species), although more can also be found in neighboring Myanmar.

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If you thought this news would bring a smile to the face of Luke Skywalker himself, well, you were right, as Mark Hamill responded to this announcement with the following tweet:

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It’s unlikely that any Skywalker hoolock gibbons will make their way into a future Star Wars installment. Nonetheless, it’s yet another example of the reach and impact of the unstoppable franchise, riding high on the critical and box office success of Rogue One and the anticipation for the as-yet-untitled Episode VIII, due in theaters Dec. 15.

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