'Square human face' monkey is China's latest online celebrity

Updated 2018-03-29 13:39:05 Xinhua

A monkey in the Tianjin Zoo has gone viral on Chinese social media for having a human-like face. The tufted capuchin, also known as black-capped capuchin, mostly feeds on fruit and invertebrates. The monkey's square face is different from its sharp-faced peers.

A monkey has become the latest Chinese online celebrity thanks to its square face resembling that of a human.

The black-capped capuchin at Tianjin Zoo, in north China's Tianjin Municipality, has a large square face, which at first glance, looks like a a human face with a surprised expression.

Video footage of the monkey's face recently went viral on microblogging site Sina Weibo. The video had more than 8 million views and 5,000 comments as of 9 a.m. Wednesday.

Commenters gave the monkey a nickname: the guo-faced monkey. In China, people describe square faces as "guo face" because the Chinese character "guo," which meaning "nation" in English, has a square shape.

In one of the videos, the monkey can be seen moving its lips, like a human mumbling. In another, it appears to be surprised, with eyes and mouth wide open.

According to staff at the zoo, the monkey was brought to the zoo in the year 2000, and is now nearly 18 years old. The average life expectancy of black-capped capuchins is 20 years.

"When you get old, you usually begin to mumble," said Weibo user Tiyage-Messi.

"It is definitely a drama king," read another Weibo comment.

"I doubt it is a real monkey," said commenter Yaocool. "Maybe they are short of monkeys and asked one of the zoo staff to wear the monkey costume and entertain us."

Zhang Shuangmeng, a staff member at the zoo, said that they always knew the monkey has a unique face, but did not expect it to become a celebrity.

"It is the king of all the monkeys in the zoo, and always gets to eat first," Zhang said.

Zhang said that the monkey enjoys coconuts, strawberries, bananas, and cherries.

Another staff member at the zoo told video-sharing site Pear Video that the monkey's face was recognized as a human face by a mobile application.

Zoo visitor Liu Jian found the monkey "very cute."

"I heard that it is the only monkey whose face can be scanned by facial recognition technology," Liu said.

"The monkeys I have seen in the past usually had round faces, but this one is a bit particular," said another visitor. "I found out about the monkey on Weibo and I came here out of curiosity."

The monkey's facial expression is so funny that people have created emojis featuring its face.

One emoji featuring the monkey's surprised expression has a caption reading: "I am so square," referring to a popular online expression about being surprised. In Chinese, the word "square" has a similar pronunciation as the word "panicked."

In another emoji, which also features its surprised face, the caption reads: "Who am I? Where am I going?"

Black-capped capuchins are native to the eastern part of the Andes in South America, and can be found in the forests of tropical and sub-tropical areas.

The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Red List of Threatened Species designated the species as "near threatened" in 2015.

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