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Cenozoic Mammals of Africa$
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Lars Werdelin

Print publication date: 2010

Print ISBN-13: 9780520257214

Published to California Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520257214.001.0001

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Subfossil Lemurs of Madagascar

Subfossil Lemurs of Madagascar

(p.351) Twenty-One Subfossil Lemurs of Madagascar
Cenozoic Mammals of Africa

Laurie R. Godfrey

William L. Jungers

David A. Burney

University of California Press

Madagascar's living lemurs (order Primates) belong to a radiation recently ravaged by extirpation and extinction. There are three extinct and five extant families (two with extinct members) of lemurs on an island of less than 600,000 square kilometers. This level of familial diversity characterizes no other primate radiation. The remains of up to seventeen species of recently extinct (or subfossil) lemurs have been found alongside those of still extant lemurs at numerous Holocene and late Pleistocene sites in Madagascar. The closest relatives of the lemurs are the lorisiform primates of continental Africa and Asia; together with the lemurs, these comprise the suborder Strepsirrhini. With regard to extinct lemurs, morphological, developmental, and molecular data support a sister taxon relationship for the Palaeopropithecidae (four genera) and the Indriidae. This chapter describes the systematic paleontology of subfossil lemurs of Madagascar.

Keywords:   Madagascar, subfossil lemurs, radiation, Holocene, primates, Africa, Palaeopropithecidae, Indriidae, Strepsirrhini, paleontology

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