Photo in the News: New Lemur Species Discovered

Photo: New lemur species discovered in Madagascar, Africa
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August 9, 2005—You're a good man, Microcebus lehilahytsara—quite literally. The German and Madagascan scientists who discovered the new lemur species named it for U.S. lemur expert Steve Goodman ("lehilahytsara" is Malagasy for "good man"). They announced the discovery of this and another new lemur species (not pictured) today.

Surprisingly, the scientists discovered Microcebus lehilahytsara not in some shrouded jungle but in one of the most studied rain forests on the African island of Madagascar. Then again, this good man is not much bigger than a big mouse, making Microcebus lehilahytsara all the more difficult to find.

About the size of a gray squirrel, the other new lemur species is also fairly wee, hence its name, Mirza zaza—"zaza" being Malagasy for "child."

"Also, with this name the new lemur is dedicated to Madagascar's children, to remind them of their responsibility for preserving the island's unique biodiversity for future generations," according to a press statement from Chicago's Field Museum.

The two new primate species are rare finds, bringing the total number of known lemur species to 49—all of which occur naturally only on Madagascar or the nearby Comoros islands. (See also "Photo in the News: Bug-Eyed Baby Aye-Aye Debuts.")

—Ted Chamberlain

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