Limb bones of giant subfossil lemurs
Limb bones Comparison of the relative sizes of the femora and humeri of the three largest extinct giant lemurs. On the left is the massive femur of Archaeoindris fontoynonti compared with the much smaller femur of Palaeopropithecus ingens and beyond it a partial humerus of A. fontoynonti, in the center are two humeri of P. ingens and on the right the femur and humerus of Megaladapis edwardsi. Archaeoindris is the largest known giant lemur and P. ingens and M. edwardsi are respectively the largest species of Palaeopropithecus and Megaladapis. The distal ends of the femur and humerus of Archaeoindris are in the size rage of the modern gorilla. Note how the head and neck in the femur of both Archaeoindris and Palaeopropithecus are oriented in such a way that they are continuous with the long axis of the bone, indicating that these lemurs were suspensory in locomotion. The positional behavior of Megaladapis is entirely different and the femur is much closer to the length of the humerus.
Gorilla skull and Megaladapis jaw comparison
Compare Although the absolute size and body bulk of the gorilla is much greater than is that of Megaladapis, the skull of the huge extinct lemur, Megaladapis edwardsi -- as seen here -- can sometimes be larger than that of Gorilla gorilla.
Other comparisons among lemurs
Skulls Most giant lemurs belong to one of three families the Megaladapidae, Palaeopropithecidae (the "sloth" lemurs), and the Archaeolemuridae. All of the extinct giant lemurs are larger than any modern lemur. In the right foreground of this photo are skulls of a tiny mouse lemur and the largest living lemur the indri or babakut. To their left in the foreground is a skull of the very short faced giant lemur Hadropithecus, which is a close relative of Archaeolemur (right hand skull in the back row). Back row left is the huge skull of Megaladapis and to its right are skulls of two sloth lemurs: respectively, Archaeoindris and Palaeopropithecus. Photo taken by Allison Jolly.
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