Meet one of the most dapper chaps on the planet, granted he doesn’t get his shirts from Jermyn St… nor does he know that a fine Harris tweed is of course unsurpassed as poor weather attire… but he does know a thing or two about grooming… say good day to the Sifaka.

We could learn something from this clean-cut primate… one can feel drunk on power from the crispness of the crease of a pair of trousers, actually to be fair mostly from this gin, but at least some giddiness from sartorial elegance.

Sifakas are a type of lemur, a smashing bunch of animals from Madagascar, yes like the Aye Aye. Madagascar said toodlepip to Africa ninety million years ago, while dinosaurs were still skedaddling around the planet. The lemurs separated from the rest of the primates (you, me, chimpanzees, creationists etc) about 55 million years ago. They diversified and filled all the ecological niches that the lovely tropical paradise of Madagascar had to offer them… until man turned up and thought them quite tasty.

Their name is onomatopoeic, that is to say their name is the name of the noise they make; like a cuckoo, a splosh, a quack or indeed a zip. The sifaka, who despite being a dapper primate hasn’t cottoned on to onomatopoeic universal fasteners, lives on the western side of the island and makes a noise that sounds like ‘Shee-fak’, and so the tribes their call them sifaka. On the eastern side the sifaka make a noise much like a sneeze, and so the tribes their have given them a name that sounds much like a sneeze, of course this is mightily confusing for both the local tribes and the sifaka when it comes to cold season.

While most lemurs like to belt all over the place on all fours, the sifakas thought it much more refined to be a bit more… well upright… and are incredibly well adapted to bounding through the trees, in fact some hoof along at up to twenty odd miles an hour amidst the twigs and branches. Of course being mostly upright, and hoofing it through trees takes some skill. The sifaka manage this feat by leaping out from the trees, spinning 180degrees, and landing back face-first on the next tree up to 10 metres away. Being so well adapted to hoofing through branches means that they are rather ill adapted to crossing land, though they do their best… unfortunately doing their best looks like a cowboy, fresh from crossing the entire western plains heading towards a bar after a nut-kicking competition.

But why is he so dapper I hear you cry?

Well it turns out that he has a number of remarkable implements at his disposal to keep himself presentable. He has a toothcomb, highly adapted teeth that comb through his thick fur, to keep himself clean. What’s more he has a toilet claw which is used for… what it’s not for… aaaah! for gads sake… does that mean… I’m so sorry for wasting everyone’s time… I thought it was used for… ah never mind.

Published in: on December 7, 2009 at 10:19 pm  Comments (4)  

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4 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. “The lemurs separated from the rest of the primates (you, me, chimpanzees, creationists etc)” … oh, you’re good.

    I love it when they walk on the ground … so peculiar yet fascinating to watch.

  2. Sifakas look very much like Barry Cryer.

  3. its zaboomafoo

  4. they look cute when they eat

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