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Crncebus

In glacial epoch rainforests of South America had seriously suffered from climatic changes. Because of dry and cooler climate of ice age their area had been strongly reduced, and they had remained only along the Atlantic coast of South America, and in lower reaches of rivers. Accordingly, the variety of local fauna and flora also had reduced. Especially large damage was incurred by groups of specialized wood animals among which only few species had remained. It had taken place with earlier numerous monkeys of New World. In Neocene the climate became favorable for growth of rainforests again, but only few species of local monkeys had survived up to this time. In dense forest canopy they are compelled to compete to numerous animals of other groups adapted to tree-climbing and jumps. One of such animals is very similar to Madagascar lemurs of Holocene epoch: it goes to feed at night, and hides in tree-trunk hollow in day time, covering by tail and paws large sensitive eyes. But it is not the primate, and a predator – carnocebus, the descendant of specialized tree-climbing raccoon kinkajou (Potos flavus). The name “carnocebus” emphasizes two features of this animal: the belonging to Carnivores order (Carnivora) and external similarity to South-American cebid monkeys (Cebidae). Carnocebus inhabits tropical rainforests of the north of South America. This mammal keeps in forest canopy, practically never going down on the ground. Carnocebus is perfectly adapted to such way of life. It has fine inheritance from the ancestor – long tenacious tail which exceeds a little common length of body and head. The tip of tail is covered from below with hairless cornificate skin which makes grasp of branch stronger. When carnocebus climbs on branches, its tail, it seems, independently grasps the next branches, providing secure if the branch appears too thin. Paws of carnocebus are rather long because of what the animal is similar to monkey. Rear legs are a little bit longer than front legs because of what the back of animal is inclined forward. Due to strong rear legs carnocebus can make long jumps in forest canopy. Fingers and toes of this animal are supplied with short, but strong and sharp claws. Till the climbing carnocebus simply clasps branches by fingers, but not clings to bark, as a cat. Thumbs on hand and foot can oppose to other fingers or toes. Wool of carnocebus is short and velvety. General colouring of wool is brown; on back it is darker, than on paws and stomach. Eyes are bordered by thin ring of white wool; muzzle and area around of mouth are also white. The tip of tail is dark, almost black. Carnocebus has inherited the habit of life of its ancestor: this is twilight and nocturnal animal. At it there are good hearing and very sharp sight. Ears of carnocebus are large, rounded, covered with wool on outer side, with fluffy fringe of long hairs on edge. Eyes of animal are big, round, directed forward: the muzzle of carnocebus is rather short, that strengthens its similarity to monkeys even more. Eyes of animal “shine” at night, as at cats: the retina has a layer of cells containing guanine which additionally reflects faint light rays to photosensitive layer of retina. Carnocebus is omnivorous, but it obviously prefers food of animal origin. It eats insects and small vertebrates: mammals, frogs, lizards and sleeping birds. Carnocebus is so agile, that it can catch by jump even flying by birds and bats. The animal eats catch, holding it in forepaws, and sitting on branch vertically. In such moments animal additionally securing itself by tail clinging to the branch. This is solitary animal spending day in shelter – usually in hollow of big tree. Less often carnocebus uses abandoned bird nest as shelter. When it is placed at top of tree, the animal arranges the original “canopy” of branches protecting from solar beams. Carnocebuses meet and keep for some time in pairs only in breeding season. At this time the male some time cares at the female: cleans her fur and feeds her from the mouth. When animals sit on branch, the male can twist by tail the tail of the female. Animals spend day in common shelter, more often belonging to the female. When the female feels the approach of pregnancy, she starts to behave aggressively relatively to the male, and banishes him from the territory. Pregnancy lasts about three months, and on the average for two years at the female it happens three litters. It may be two cubs in litter. They are born rather advanced. Right after birth they can cling by paws to mother’s wool, additionally twisting her tail by their ones. They are colored darker than adult animals and have no white marks on muzzle. When the female moves in forest canopy, cubs sit on her hips and keep so strongly, that it can jump from tree to tree not being afraid for their life. Young animals keep near to the female about four months. Usually at the end of this term the female again ready to pairing again, and cubs are banished by the male starting to court after her. Young carnocebuses spend first months of independent life together, and then each of them finds new territory to settle in. To this time animals become sexual mature. Duration of their life makes about 14 years.

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