1 Tahrcountry Musings: New Primate Species Discovered in Madagascar

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

New Primate Species Discovered in Madagascar

A previously unknown species of mouse lemur has been discovered on the island of Madagascar. It was a joint effort of Senior Lecturer Dr. Ute Radespiel from the Institute of Zoology of the University of Veterinary Medicine Hannover, Foundation (TiHo), and Malagasy scientists and students of the GERP organisation (Groupe d`√Čtude et de Recherche sur les Primates de Madagascar). The discovery was made in the tropical rainforests of Makira, a newly protected area in Northwestern Madagascar. The lemur has been named Microcebus macarthurii, after the MacArthur Foundation, which provided funding for the research. The new species not only differs genetically but also in its body size from the sister species, the Mittermeier`s mouse lemur. Madagascar is home to more than 100 types of lemurs, all of which are endemic to the island. Madagascar lost its largest lemur species when humans arrived some 1500 years ago. The results of the study have been published on the internet page of the American Journal of Primatology. (http://www.interscience.wiley.com/ajp).

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