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Here are a few important facts about lemurs...

    Lemurs and humans are both primates.  Primates are the animal order that includes prosimians, monkeys, apes, and humans.  Primate means first.  All primates have hands with fingers that move.  Fingers and toes also have nails.  Nails help primates to climb trees.  Lemurs were the first primates to evolve.  This makes them very important to the study of man’s evolution.  Evolution is the way living things change and adapt to their environment.

There are two groups of primates, anthropoids and prosimians.  Humans are anthropoids.  Anthropoids are “man-like.”  They have good vision and large brains.  Monkeys and apes are also anthropoids.
    Lemurs are a special kind of primate called prosimians.  Prosimians are the oldest primate group.  Prosimian means “before the monkeys.”  The eyes of prosimians are close to the front of their faces.  This allows them to see better and control things.  Lemurs that hunt only at night have big eyes that allow them to see better when it is dark.  They also have large ears and special scent glands to help them get along at night.

 

    Lemurs are the most endangered primates.  There are 32 different kinds of lemurs that exist today.  Sixteen species have become extinct.  Lemur means ghost in Latin because they are nocturnal.  They live on Madagascar, an island near Africa.  The largest lemur is the Indri and it weighs about 15 pounds.  The dwarf mouse lemur is the smallest primate.  There are more than 10,000 black lemurs.

    Madagascar is called the red island because it has red soil.  It broke from Africa 175 million years ago.  Madagascar moves 1 inch away from Africa a year.  On Africa, Prosimians were forced to go out at night to avoid smarter primates.  Lemurs went to Madagascar to get away from the smarter primates.  Lemurs crossed to the island on ‘rafts’ of plants and wood.  The island was hundreds of miles away from Africa when they started their journey.  On Madagascar, lemurs did not have any predators until humans came and hunted them.  Without predators, lots of different kinds of lemurs evolved.  Some lemurs could even be active during the day.

    Madagascar is called the red island because it has red soil.  It broke from Africa 175 million years ago.  Madagascar moves 1 inch away from Africa a year.  On Africa, Prosimians were forced to go out at night to avoid smarter primates.  Lemurs went to Madagascar to get away from the smarter primates.  Lemurs crossed to the island on ‘rafts’ of plants and wood.  The island was hundreds of miles away from Africa when they started their journey.  On Madagascar, lemurs did not have any predators until humans came and hunted them.  Without predators, lots of different kinds of lemurs evolved.  Some lemurs could even be active during the day.

    The male lemurs have scent glands in their armpits and their forearms.  They rub their tail on the glands until it is smelly and then they wave the tail at the other lemur.  This is a nice way of fighting without the lemurs getting hurt.  This is called a stink fight.  Female lemurs are dominant to the male lemurs.  Lemurs stay in groups of 7 to 10 lemurs.  They use the sense of smell to communicate with each other.  Lemurs tails help them to balance when they jump from tree to tree.  Most of the lemurs stay up in trees and bushes. 

    Baby lemurs stay with their mom for two years.  Half of all lemurs born each year die.

    Lemurs eat leaves, fruit, insects, and sometimes little animals.