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SAKIS ARE SIFAKAS OF COURSE..



In comments on Feduccia's new book, Ronald Orenstein says:

> (Though Feduccia cites an example I have never heard, the sakis of
> South America, which seem to glide on long fur extending from the
> forearms. Weird.).

I don't know if you're being sarcastic or not here, Ron;) The above statement
is obviously a garbled cock-up referring to the Madagascan sifakas
(_Propithecus_), and I know that Ron knows as much about these critters as
anyone. 

For those of you that don't, sifakas are 2 species of medium sized,
arboreal indriid lemurs. _P. verrauxi_ - the black and white species -
lives in the thorn forests and is usually seen (on TV) doing a strange
kind of hopping jink across the ground (it doesn't make a real regular
habit of this, it just makes good TV...). The other one,
_P. diademata_ (I may be spelling the specifics wrong) is poorly
known. Oh yeah, and the word 'sifaka' is pronounced 'sh-fuck'.

Feduccia likes the sifakas as they appear to provide good analogues for branch-
leaping protobirds. Their forelimbs are particularly interesting in sporting
both a poorly developed propatagium, and also a fringe of stiff hairs along the
back edge of the arm. Both apparently function as aids in leaping (they provide
friction and enable a 'glide'), and Feduccia has published two papers where
these features are interpreted as analogies to the earliest feathers. One was
published recently in _Courier Ferchung._, and the other a couple of years back
in _Jour. Theoretical Biology_. I don't have the refs with me, but I'll bet
someone else does...

I've just watched _Species_. What a useless film..

DARREN NAISH