Fossil Friday: A subfossil baby lemur

Megaladapis skulls from the collection of the DLC’s Division of Fossil Primates.

By Matt Borths, Curator of the Duke Lemur Center’s Division of Fossil Primates.

In honor of baby Coquerel’s sifaka Marie’s big media debut, here’s a baby lemur from the Division of Fossil Primates! (Seriously, if you haven’t seen the video of Marie that was uploaded yesterday, find your way to it now. The fossils will wait, like they have for ~12,000 years and counting.)

In the background is the skull of an adult Megaladapis, a gorilla-sized, koala-like lemur that munched leaves like a sifaka in the forests of Madagascar between 12,000 and 300 years ago.

In the foreground is a baby Megaladapis that still has all of its baby teeth. Lemurs grow up much faster than monkeys and apes. The little Megaladapis, which would have been about the size of Gertrude (baby Marie’s mom), probably got up to gorilla-sized in only a few short years — maybe as few as three. That’s what you call a growth spurt!

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