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The word "animal" comes from the Latin word animale, neuter of animalis, and is derived from anima, meaning vital breath or soul. In everyday colloquial usage, the word usually refers to non-human animals. The biological definition of the word refers to all members of the Kingdom Animalia. Therefore, when the word "animal" is used in a biological context, humans are included.
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About Lemurs

Posted by WishbonE at 3:03 AM

Friday, August 1, 2008

Lemur is a kind of primate, which means they are related to apes and humans. They make up of infraorder Lemuriformes. They are members of group of primates known as prosimians, or primitive primates. There are approximately 32 different types of lemurs in existence today, all of which are endemic to Madagascar; a single island country of the southeast coast of Africa. The term "lemur" is derived from the Latin word lemures, meaning "spirits of the night" or "ghosts".

Most of lemurs have long, pointy noses, which contribute to their excellent sense of smell. The lemurs were safe from competition on Madagascar and differentiated into a number of species. These range in size from th
e tiny 30 gram (1 oz) Pygmy Mouse Lemur to the 10 kilogram (22 lb) Indri. The larger species, some of which weighed up to 240 kg, have all become extinct since humans settled on Madagascar, and since the early 20th century the largest lemurs reach about 10 kilograms (22 lbs). Lemurs are generally omnivores, eating a variety of leaves, flowers and fruits, although they will occasionally eat insects or smaller animals.

Lemurs are found naturally only on the island of Madagascar and some smaller surrounding islands, including the Comoros Island. Except for the Indri, all lemurs have long tails that they use for communication with each other and balance when leaping between trees. They have opposable thumbs and long toes adapted for gripping tree branches. Lemurs have nails rather than claws on all digits except the second toe of each hind foot, which has a "toilet claw" for grooming. Most lemurs spend their time in trees and bushes except the ring-tailed lemurs, which spends most of its time on the ground. These primates have scent glands on their bottoms and on their feet that leave odors on surfaces they cross.

Most lemurs are listed as endangered or threatened species. Many species have gone extinct in the last centuries, mainly due to habitat destruction such as deforestation and hunting. Some of these extinct lemurs were ground dwelling while others lived in the trees and moved very much like sloth. Generally, those species now extinct were among the largest and most slow moving of all lemurs.

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