Are lemurs primates?
A recent study suggested they were not, but it has been controversial.
Lemurs are a group of primates that live only in Madagascar.
They look very similar to other primates such as monkeys and apes, but they descend from a different branch on the primate family tree.
Their most notable difference is their large reflective eyes.
Another difference is that they are nocturnal, meaning that they sleep during the day and are active at night.
Due to this, most lemurs only like to be awake during the hottest parts of the summer.
Their reflective eyes allow them to see well in low light conditions.
So, Are Lemurs Primates?
A study done by two scientists speculated that they were not primates.
Researchers tested the DNA of lemurs and primates, including humans.
The researchers found that humans had more genetic material in common with monkeys than they did with lemurs.
Humans share 96% of their DNA with chimpanzees, 95% with gorillas, 94% with orangutans, and not even 80% with lemurs.
Since this study, there has been controversy over whether lemurs are primates.
Some shared characteristics between lemurs and primates include having large eyes, grasping hands with nails instead of claws, and relatively flat faces.
Primates also share structural similarities in their skulls.
However, one prominent biologist states that these facts do not matter because the DNA is the majority of what makes an animal a certain species.
Besides, some other primates do not share all those characteristics with them.
Lemurs are definitely primates according to experts.
No one doubts that primates are a different branch on the evolutionary tree from lemurs because of their genetic difference.
How Was This Concluded?
This is not only how experts are deciding, but also what makes the most sense.
It seems unlikely that they evolved from a different branch entirely just to have a couple of similarities with primates.
Despite the fact that the study shows some great genetic variation between humans and lemurs, they are still primates.
Modern-day lemurs include the ring-tailed lemur, sportive lemur, sifaka, and indri.
They can be found throughout Madagascar in a variety of different habitats including rain forests, dry forests, and scrublands.
There are over 100 species of lemurs, and they are all threatened with extinction due to deforestation and hunting.
Whether or not they depend on your definition of a primate.
However, it is safe to say that humans and lemurs are certainly not the same.
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