Isnachi

Mystery Primate of South America.

Etymology: Quechua (Quechuan), "strong man."

Variant names: Camuenare (Amuesha/ Arawakan, "father of the monkeys"), Maemi (Machiguenga/Arawakan), Majero (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, black or dark-brown hair. Muscular. Black face. Snout is like a mandrill's. Long teeth. Barrel-chested. Thick arms. Hands have nails, not cl aws. Huge thighs. Thick tail, 6 inches l ong.

Behavior: Arboreal. Usual l y sol itary but is said to travel in groups of up to twenty. Travel s with spider monkey troops. Attacks 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 platforms in trees for resting.

Habitat: Mountainous forest at altitudes of 1,600-5,000 feet.

Distribution: Peru, from Loreto Department in the north, through Yanachaga-Chemillen National Park, to the Cordillera Urubamba.

Significant sighting: Ecuadorean botanist Benigno Malo saw a large, black ape along the Ecuador-Peru border in 1985 and managed to take a photograph before it moved away. The location of the photo is currently unknown. Possible explanations:

(1) The Spectacled bear (Tremarctos ornatus) is black and lives in the area. It occasionally climbs trees to reach fruit. However, its white eye rings woul d be hard to mistake.

(2) An unknown species of monkey. Sources: Peter J. Hocking, "Large Peruvian

Mammals Unknown to Zoology," Cryptozoology 11 (1992): 38-50; Peter J. Hocking, "Further Investigation into Unknown Peruvian Mammals," Cryptozoology 12 (1996): 50-57.

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