Subfossil Indri indri from the Ankarana Massif of northern Madagascar.
Subfossil specimens of Indri indri have been recovered recently from the Ankarana Massif cave system in the far north of Madagascar. Taken together with material from the central highland site of Ampasambazimba, the range of this species appears to have once included much of the northern half of the island and to have extended north and west beyond the eastern rainforest (not unlike Hapalemur simus). It is probable that forest corridors connected the subfossil localities to the current range at some time in the past. Climatic desiccation (fluctuating or long-term) and/or human degradation of the environment may have created the disjunct distributions of living and subfossil I. indri. It is also possible that I. indri once included populations or subspecies that were better adapted to dry forest, woodland, or mosaic environments, habitats very different from those occupied by their living conspecifics. Such adaptive diversity would have been similar to that of Propithecus diadema which today has subspecies in the montane forests and one (P.d. perrieri) in the dry forests of the northeast. These discoveries add new information on range extensions to the distributional database for the primates of Madagascar, and illustrate the piecemeal process of their extinctions.
Jungers, WL; Godfrey, LR; Simons, EL; Chatrath, PS
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