The discovery of two new lemur species has been announced after German and Malagasy scientists performed genetic analysis on wild lemurs from Madagascar. Described in the journal Primate Report, the two species bring Madagascar’s count of these unusual primates to 49.
Both species are small, with the one species being the size of a mouse and the other the size of a grey squirrel. Both species were given scientific names that used Malagasy words, with the mouse sized Microcebus lehilahytsara (‘good man’) being named for lemur expert Steve Goodman, while the larger species Mirza zaza (‘child’) was named for its small size and as a reminder to Madagascar’s children of their unique biological heritage. Lemurs are considered to be the world’s most endangered primates, and only occur on Madagascar and the nearby Comoros islands.