Natural History Museum - Lemur skulls from Madagascar
The large skull shown is of the giant lemur (Megaladapis edwardsi), the smaller one that is also on display is from a ring-tailed lemur (Lemur catta).The subtropical island of Madagascar separated from Africa 160 million years ago. Its isolation led to the evolution of a unique wildlife, including lemurs and giant baobab trees (Adansonia).
On display at Kew Gardens from 7 March - 17 April
The island was first settled by humans about 1500 years ago, with an immediate impact on its wildlife. The giant lemur was hunted to extinction, today only smaller lemur species such as the ring-tailed lemur survive.
Lemurs are also threatened by habitat destruction. Deforestation is in part driven by expansion of farmland to support a rising population. However, an increasing threat is illegal logging of tropical hardwood trees for export.
85% of the plant species of Madagascar are only found on the island. The pressing conservation problems of Madagascar have led to it being a major focus of botanical work at Kew since 1986. Kew works closely with other botanic gardens and local partners to document and conserve the remarkable plants of the island.
M13898 (cranium) and M13899 (mandible) of giant lemur, BM(NH) 1939.1223 (skull of the ring-tailed lemur), Natural History Museum
What do the other museums say about this object?
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