Graveyard of Giant Lemurs Discovered Underwater in Madagascar
Bones found deep inside a cave offer an unprecedented look at the ancient primates, some as big as gorillas.
Deep below the surface of a water-filled cave in Madagascar, divers and paleontologists have uncovered a boneyard full of extinct giant lemurs.
Hundreds of bones dot the silty bottom of Aven Cave in Tsimanampetsotse National Park. The remains include exotic species such as the extinct elephant bird, a flightless giant similar to an ostrich, but the most numerous bones are from long-lost giant lemurs.
The largest of the extinct lemurs were as big as gorillas, and paleontologists sometimes refer to the different types as sloth lemurs, koala lemurs, and monkey lemurs to describe their different lifestyles and the living animals they most closely resemble. Sometime between 2,000 and 500 years ago, all these giants disappeared, possibly at the hands of humans.