Lemurs

Courtesy of Cathy Williams / Duke Lemur Center

The vast majority of lemur species are under threat, according to a new review from a group of international conservationists. The group convened by the International Union for the Conservation of Nature found that of 111 known species and subspecies of lemur, 105 of them, or 95 percent, face a high risk of extinction. 

Alex Dornburg scuba diving
Courtesy of Alex Dornburg

By modeling the evolutionary biology of ray-finned fishes, Alex Dornburg is answering an array of cross-disciplinary questions. His research on fish’s “tree of life” has applications for creating public health reporting systems, fighting antibiotic resistance, directing reforestation efforts in Madagascar and overturning understanding of biodiversity in Antarctica. 

lemur with white head and body, brown arms and dark facial markings
David Haring / http://lemur.duke.edu

Sixty-five million years ago, ancestors of lemurs journeyed from Africa to Madagascar on a raft of vegetation. This explanation for their arrival, now widely accepted, was the dissertation of Anne Yoder, director of the Duke Lemur Center. It is also the subject of a new IMAX movie, "Island of Lemurs: Madagascar." Many of the lemurs that star in the film are Durham residents who were trained locally by behavioral manager Meg Dye. 

A Coquerel's Sifaka lemur at the Duke Lemur Center.
Laura Candler

Researchers at Duke University say studying hibernation in a certain species of lemur is giving them a better understanding of how sleep might help people with serious injuries or diseases. 

A Coquerel's Sifaka lemur at the Duke Lemur Center.
Laura Candler

A Walking with Lemurs tour at the Duke Lemur Center might just seem like an ordinary walk through the woods at first. But at the rustle of a food bucket, tiny, energetic animals begin to descend from the treetops, and you know you’re not walking in any normal forest. Lemurs zip past you at will, some of them with tiny infants clinging to their backs, and there are no barriers between you and the furry primates.