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Identification of fur coat

20 January 2006

The Natural History Museum has identified the type of fur used to make the coat worn by Channel 4's Celebrity Big Brother star Pete Burns.

Black and white colobus monkey (Colobus guereza) © The Natural History Museum, London

Black and white colobus monkey (Colobus guereza) © The Natural History Museum, London

Experts at the Museum confirmed that the fur is from black and white colobus monkeys, belonging to the species, Colobus guereza and is not from a gorilla. Colobus monkeys are on the CITES appendix 2 which mean the trade in them must be tightly controlled.

Zoologists examined the morphology (physical features) such as fur type, pattern and colour and made direct comparisons with mammal skins in their scientific study collections in order to determine the group of animals from which the fur originally came.

The Museum usually works with whole animals, complete skins, skulls, teeth and skeletons, but with its world-class comparative collections, it was ideally placed to carry out the identification.

This information has now been passed onto Hertfordshire Constabulary, who are dealing with the rest of the case.

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