Ring-tailed lemur group sitting on the ground


Lemurs are an old group of primates which evolved in near isolation after Madagascar split away from the African mainland. They filled the ecological niches occupied by monkeys, the dominant primates, on mainland Africa. As there was no competition from monkeys on Madagascar, lemurs soon came to dominate its rainforests, until boats started to arrive around 2,000 years ago and human hunters arrived. Lemur size ranges from the world's smallest primate to - until fairly recently - some of its largest, the sloth lemurs, which rivalled gorillas in size.

Did you know?
Lemurs are named after the lemures (ghosts or spirits) of Roman mythology.

Scientific name: Lemuriformes

Rank: Infraorder

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The Lemurs can be found in a number of locations including: Madagascar. Find out more about these places and what else lives there.


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Additional data source: Animal Diversity Web

When they lived

Discover the other animals and plants that lived during the following geological time periods.

BBC News about Lemurs

Video collections

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