Mammals "Rafted" to Madagascar, Climate Model Suggests
The ancestors of lemurs, fossa, and other Madagascar mammals got to the island aboard natural rafts, according to a new model of the ocean currents and prevailing winds that existed 50 million years ago.
But a new computer model suggests there may be a grain of truth in the animated fiction: The ancestors of ring-tailed lemurs, flying foxes, and other mammals that live on the Indian Ocean island got there aboard natural rafts.
(Related: "Three New Lemurs Discovered, Add to Madagascar's Diversity.")
The model supports a 70-year-old theory that mainland mammals from southeastern Africa "rafted" to the island on large logs or floating carpets of vegetation after being swept out to sea during storms.
The ancient refugees were carried to Madagascar by ocean currents, drifting on the open seas for several weeks before finally coming ashore, the model says.
Based on genetic and ecosystem