Thursday, November 23, 2006

Three new primates named

The world's smallest primates, all residents of Madagascar, are the mouse lemurs of the genus Microcebus. German researchers have identified three previously unclassified members of this ever-expanding group. The new chipmunk-sized, nocturnal critters (Microcebus bongolavensis, Microcebus danfossi, Microcebus lokobensis) join a genus which has expanded considerably over the last decade as scientists race against deforestation and other threats to study Madagascarene fauna. A researcher from the German Primate Center in Gattingen explains that the mouse lemur species, which look very similar and need a lot of work to differentiate, appear to have been split up primarily by river barriers on the world's fourth-largest island.

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