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A verreaux's sifaka lemur can jump 30 feet (Frans Lanting)

For the Love of Lemurs

To her delight, social worker-turned-scientist Patricia Wright has found the mischievous Madagascar primates to be astonishingly complex

Mother Blue, whom Wright says is probably 28 years old now, has worn teeth. The Earthwatchers are recording how much she eats and how many bites it takes her. They’re also supposed to collect scat samples containing broken seed remnants, to see how well she digests it. Someone squeamishly points out where droppings have just fallen in the thick grass. Wright wades in. She grabs a couple of fresh pellets with her bare hands and bags them for analysis back in the lab. Then she turns and leads her group uphill, deeper into the Ranomafana forest. “There is nothing more exciting than finding a new thing nobody knows,” says Wright. “You won’t believe it, but everything hasn’t already been discovered.”

About Richard Conniff
Richard Conniff

Richard Conniff, a Smithsonian contributor since 1982, is the author of seven books about human and animal behavior.

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