lemur








noun

  1. any of various small, arboreal, chiefly nocturnal mammals of the family Lemuridae, of Madagascar and the Comoro Islands, especially of the genus Lemur, usually having large eyes, a foxlike face, and woolly fur: most lemurs are endangered.

noun

  1. any Madagascan prosimian primate of the family Lemuridae, such as Lemur catta (the ring-tailed lemur). They are typically arboreal, having foxy faces and long tails
  2. any similar or closely related animal, such as a loris or indris

n.nocturnal Madagascar mammal, 1795, coined by Linnaeus, from Latin lemures (plural) “spirits of the dead” in Roman mythology. The oldest usage of “lemur” for a primate that we are aware of is in Linnaeus’s catalog of the Museum of King Adolf Frederick of Sweden (Tattersall, 1982); …. In this work, he explained his use of the name “lemur” thus: “Lemures dixi hos, quod noctu imprimis obambulant, hominibus quodanmodo similes, & lento passu vagantur [I call them lemurs, because they go around mainly by night, in a certain way similar to humans, and roam with a slow pace]” [Dunkel, Alexander R., et al., “Giant rabbits, marmosets, and British comedies: etymology of lemur names, part 1,” in “Lemur News,” vol. 16, 2011-2012, p.65] Lemuria (1864) was the name given by English zoologist P.L. Sclater (1829-1913) to a hypothetical ancient continent connecting Africa and Southeastern Asia (and including Madagascar), which was hypothesized to explain phenomena now accounted for by continental drift. Earlier it was the name of the Roman feast of the Lemures.

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