Phylogenetic and Functional Affinities of Babakotia (Primates), a Fossil Lemur From Northern Madagascar

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 Oct 15;88(20):9082-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.88.20.9082.


Recent paleontological expeditions to the Ankarana range of northern Madagascar have recovered the partial remains of four individuals of a newly recognized extinct lemur, Babakotia radofilai. Craniodental and postcranial material serve to identify Babakotia as a member of the palaeopropithecids (also including the extinct genera Palaeopropithecus, Archaeoindris, and Mesopropithecus). Living indrids form the sister group to this fossil clade. The postcranial anatomy indicates that Babakotia was a medium-sized (approximately 15 kg) indroid whose inferred positional behaviors were primarily slow climbing and hanging. Although it is probable that a leaping component typified the ancestral positional repertoire of all Malagasy lemurs, the mosaic nature of the locomotor skeleton of Babakotia further suggests that vertical climbing and hang-feeding rather than ricochetal leaping were primitive for indrids and palaeopropithecids and that the dramatic saltatory adaptations of the living indrids postdate the divergence of these two lineages.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Bone and Bones / anatomy & histology
  • Dentition
  • Fossils*
  • Lemur / anatomy & histology
  • Lemur / genetics*
  • Madagascar
  • Maxilla / anatomy & histology
  • Phylogeny*
  • Primates / genetics*