The Purple-necked Rock-wallaby
) was first classified in 1924 by Albert Sherbourne Le Souef
, then director of the Taronga Zoo
in Sydney, Australia
, who noted a strange purple coloration around the neck as well as skull differences separating it from other rock-wallaby
species. The species has undergone taxonomic upheaval for decades and has variously been classified as a Unadorned Rock-wallaby
, Brush-tailed Rock-wallaby
, and Black-flanked Rock-wallaby
. Le Souef and others have asserted that it was a new species, and this has been affirmed by a 2001 paper in the Australian Journal of Zoology.
The purple coloration was thought by some skeptical scientists to be due to the animal rubbing against a dye, but the animal does in fact secrete the purple pigment. The pigment is known to wash off in the rain and fade away after death, causing some possible confusion with other rock-wallaby species.