Here's a little article on a rediscovered species of lemur from Madagascar. Sorry about the caps!


Return of the Little Lemur, from New Scientist, July 15 1995.

WEIGHING ONLY SLIGHTLY MORE THAN THREE $1 COINS, THE PYGMY MOUSE LEMUR OF MADAGASCAR IS THE WORLD'S TINIEST PRIMATE. uNTIL A COUPLE OF YEARS AGO SCIENTISTS HAD MORE OR LESS WRITTEN OFF THE LEMUR, SHOWN HERE HELD IN A GLOVED HAND, AS A REAL SPECIES EVEN THOUGH IT HAD BEEN DISCOVERED A CENTURY AND A HALF AGO.THE PYGMY MOUSE LEMUR WAS FIRST DESCRIBED IN 1852 AND CLASSIFIED AS A NEWSPECIES, MICROCEBUS MYOXINUS. BUT OVER THE FOLLOWING CENTURY THERE WAS CONFUSION ABOUT THE PROPER STATUS OF THE LITTLE LEMUR. THERE ARE TWO OTHERMOUSE LEMURS IN MADAGASCAR. THE BROWN MOUSE LEMUR, MICROCEBUS RUFUS, LIVES INTHE RAINFORESTS OF THE NORTH AND EAST. THE LARGER GREY MOUSE LEMUR,MICROCEBUS MURINUS, LIVES IN THE DRIER DECIDUOUS FORESTS IN THE SOUTH ANDWEST. SO WHEN PEOPLE FOUND THE OCCASIONAL REDDISH-BROWN MOUSE LERNUR LIVINGALONGSIDE THE GREY MOUSE LEMUR THEY THOUGHT IT WAS EITHER AN IMMATURE FORM OR A SUBSPECIES OF THE BETTER KNOWN SPECIES.

JUTTA SCHMID AND PETER KAPPELER OF THE GERMAN PRIMATE CENTRE IN GOTTINGEN NOW SAY THEY CAN SET THE RECORD STRAIGHT. IN 1992, THEY CAPTURED A LITTLE REDDISH-COLOURED MOUSE LEMUR IN WESTERN MADAGASCAR. IT LOOKED LIKE A BROWN MOUSE LEMUR BUT LIVED IN THE WRONG AREA-AND AT 30 GRAMS WAS ONLY ABOUT HALF THE WEIGHT OF EITHER OF THE OTHER TWO SPECIES. WHEN THE SCIENTISTS LOOKEDFURTHER THEY DISCOVERED MORE OF THE ANIMALS, WHICH THEY COMPARED WITH GREY AND BROWN MOUSE LEMURS. FROM THIS THEY CONCLUDED THAT THE MINIATURE LEMUR IS DISTINCTIVE ENOUGH TO QUALIFY AS A SPECIES IN ITS OWN RIGHT- SO MICROCEBUS MYOXINUS LIVES AGAIN.