The researchers estimate that there are about 200 of the Skywalker gibbons living in China - and also some living in neighbouring Myanmar, although the population size there is now unknown.
Scientists named a new species of primate after a star wars character. That would be interesting if that was all there was to the explanation about the gibbon's name, but it is not exactly the whole truth about the endangered species, or about why fans of Star Wars have become enamored of photos of the skywalker hoolock gibbon. Fans were ecstatic by the news and many shared hilarious side-by-side photographs of apes and Hamill's characters on Twitter.
Hoolock gibbons in general (presumably themselves named after the crossover fandom between Doctor Who and Sherlock fans) have white eyebrows and white beards and are found in Bangladesh, India, China and Myanmar, where they spend the vast majority of their time in the trees.
They also chose the name, skywalker hoolock gibbon, because the Chinese characters mean "Heaven's movement", according to the BBC.
The Star Wars-inspired name reflects the high treetop home of the gibbons, and the historical Chinese view of them as nearly mystical beings, according to the team, headed by Sun Yat-sen University Professor Fan Pengfei. Turvey said, the Star Wars-inspired name for the gibbon species points to their behavior of moving rapidly through the canopy of the forest.
Turvey called an increased awareness of the remarkable Gaoligong mountains ecosystem and for improved conservation is a necessity.
Though the experts already had knowledge of two existing species of hoolock gibbons, the Western and Eastern hoolocks, they determined in an American Journal of Primatology paper, that due to differences found in the apes' teeth, coats and genetics, a third species was present.
The Force is strong with this adorable newly-discovered gibbon species. Pengfei and co-authors believe that hoolocks in this location - previously assigned to H. leuconedys - are actually a distinct hoolock species.
However, after carrying out physical and genetic comparisons with other gibbons, scientists concluded that the primates living in Gaoligong mountainous area belong to a different species.
What Make The Skywalker Hoolock Gibbons Different?
"Juveniles do not have white hair on the chin or under the eyes; eyebrows are not always well-separated", they said. He also tweeted, "I can definitely see a resemblance!"