Dictionary of Human Evolution and Biology

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Megaladapis Forsyth Major, 1894

Genus of subfossil Malagasy prosimians called the koala lemurs; three species known. All materials relating to this genus were recovered from sites in the north of Madagascar, with radiocarbon dates ranging from 3000 to 600 years ago. The closest affinities of these lemurs is with the sportive lemurs, with whom they are included in the family Megaladapidae. Arboreal; limb structure and proportions unlike any other primate; presumed to have been clingers and climbers similar to the koala of Australia; may have made short leaps in the trees; forelimbs long relative to hindlimbs; very large paws. Large lemur, body mass estimates range from 40 to 80 kg. Unusual cranial features: elongated flattened cranium and foramen magnum at most posterior portion of occipital bone; fused mandibular symphysis (unusual in recent prosimians). Adult dental formula: 0.1.3.3/2.1.3.3; upper incisors lost in the adult and presumed replaced by a horny pad, similar to the condition found in the artiodactyls; very high and large molars; folivorous.

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