Saturday, December 7, 2013

Updates and Marni's Ark Animal 3

My word, how has over a month passed since my last update and Ark animal (Marni's Ark Animal 2: the Pygmy Seahorse)? Lots has happened in that time, such as my moving from Europe to America, launching the Seeking Lemur Superheroes campaign, and continuing to babysit Mystery Illness 2.0. FYI (with a TMI warning)- I also had one of the more uncomfortable moments of my life during a "sterile" urine collection procedure at the E.R. So there was that.

Anyhow, getting back to the animals with Marni's Ark Animal 3.

Many of you will know what this critter is right off the bat (and no, its not a bat). If you don't know what this animal is, get ready, because you are about to be blown away. And if you already know, enjoy anyway. 

Clue 1. The hands. This animal has five digits with opposable thumbs. Moreover, the middle finger is long, very skinny, and has a full ball-and-socket joint (like your hip). And the hand kinda looks like a big spider. 

Clue 2. Teeth. This amazing beast has huge continuously growing incisors. What are those? Incisors are your front teeth, and continuously growing incisors, well, they continue to grow. Scientists originally thought this animal was a rodent, because of it's dentition, however they were quite wrong. 

Check 'em out. photo credit:

Clue 3. I like to think of this animal as the 'platypus' of primates. A real WTF of nature. Here are some pics of this fabulous beast. 


What the...


Got it? 

Its the Aye-Aye (Daubentonia madagascariensis)!! Ok, so maybe not a huge shocker, but the Aye-Aye is definitely ark worthy and thus the third critter on my list.

The Aye-Aye is a very specialized lemur, which is in turn, a very specialized primate. All lemurs are found on the island of Madagascar and Aye-Ayes are found in pockets throughout the island (with the exception of the southern regions). 

Aye-Aye distribution map. 

Aye-Ayes are nocturnal, and at about 2-3 kg in size, which makes them largest extant nocturnal primate. Mostly, Aye-Ayes are solitary although they do have overlapping home ranges and have may hang out with one another now and then. 

Why the weirdo morphology? Aye-Ayes are extraction foragers, which mean they take pull their foods out of things. More specifically, they tend to knaw into really hard things like tree trunks and certain nuts, in order to get at the nut meat or insect larva. Watch here:

And last, but certainly not least, is this wonderfully descriptive video of the aye-aye which eloquently outlines all its glories. Enjoy.  


  1. I admit, I had no idea what it was, even when you got to the photo part. The claws with that opposable thumb - crazy! Not a critter I'd want to bump into in a dark alley...

  2. There actually used to be a giant aye-aye (Daubentonia robusta), which was twice the size of the modern one. Yipes!