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Lemurs are a clade of strepsirrhine primates that is endemic to the island of Madagascar. The name is derived from the Latin word lemures, signifying ghosts or spirits, from which they earned their name due to the ghostly vocalizations, reflective eyes, and the nocturnal habits of some species. Although lemurs often are confused with ancestral primates, the anthropoid primates (monkeys, apes, and humans) did not evolve from them; instead, lemurs merely share morphological and behavioral traits with basal primates. Lemurs arrived in Madagascar approximately 62 to 65 mya by rafting on mats of vegetation at a time when ocean currents favored oceanic dispersal to the island. Since that time, lemurs have evolved to cope with an extremely seasonal environment and their adaptations give them a level of diversity that rivals that of all other primate groups. Until shortly after humans arrived on the island approximately 2,000 years ago, there were lemurs as large as a male gorilla. These subfossil lemurs were all larger than species living currently. Today, there are nearly 100 species of lemurs, and most of those species were discovered or promoted to full species status since the 1990s; however, lemur taxonomic classification is controversial and depends on which species concept is used. Even the higher-level taxonomy is disputed, with some experts perferring to place most lemurs within the infraorder Lemuriformes, while others perfer Lemuriformes to contain all living strepsirrhines, placing all lemurs in superfamily Lemuroidea and all lorises and galagos in superfamily Lorisoidea.

Unless indicated otherwise, the text in this article is either based on Wikipedia article "Lemur" or another language Wikipedia page thereof used under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License; or on research by Jahsonic and friends. See Art and Popular Culture's copyright notice.

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