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Madagascar is a country, home to about 22 millions inhabitants, whose territory is an island in the Indian Ocean, near the Eastern coast of Africa. Its capital city is Antananarivo.
Geography[edit | edit source]
Created by fire and titanic upheavals of the earth. Islands make up one 6th of the land mass of our planet. They have been important to the understanding of evolution and the ideal place to study the its rules in Madagascar, the 4th largest island in the world 1000 miles long and 350 at its widest. 80% of islands were created by volcanoes but this was not the case. Madagascar was created when the contenent Godwanaland was pulled apart and a chunk of land created Madagascar.
Fauna[edit | edit source]
It has a separate realm of animals 25000 of them in fact, many of which are found nowhere else, 70% of its aphibians, 90% of its reptiles, 50% of its birds and almost all of its spiders and insects are endemic.
Lemurs[edit | edit source]
The ancestors of the lemurs arrived 55 million years ago 10 million years after the mass extinction of the dinosaures from Africa on a raft of vegatation and were marooned on a nearly uninhabited island Madagascar, 250 miles of the east coast of Africa. In Madagascar the best place to see lemurs is on Lemur Island a natural zoo for lemurs. The smallest lemur and indeed primate lives in Madagascar, the Mouse lemur which can weigh only 30g. One of the main reasons why lemurs flourished in Madagascar is the absence of Predators but one carnivore did arrive in Madagascar it was the Fossa.
The Fossa[edit | edit source]
The Fossa is an immensely rare and shy animal an is the Predator of the Lemurs and is so vicious that when in captivity its young must be fed live food.
Chameleons[edit | edit source]
There are 75 species if chameleon which include Parsons chameleon which uses its tail to hang from branches, they evolved from being ground chameleons to tree ones
Frogs[edit | edit source]
Frogs are the only amphibians to have colonized Madagascar, there are 300 species of them and they are almost identical to other species in other parts of the world.
Ecology and impact of human settelment[edit | edit source]
The first human settelers came not from Africa as one would have expected but from Borneo, 2500 miles away, and they began to wipe out many species of animals such as the Elephant Bird and the Pygmy Hippo. The first settelers were soon followed by people from Africa, China, India and Europe.
The Europeans introduced eucalyptus trees because it is a useful crop but there were disastrous consequences for the eucalyptus trees were destroying the ecology of the island, 80% of the forest was used for growing eucalyptus trees for charcoal. This might destroy 90% of lemurs in 20 years, and also might destroy all the plants which have medicinal properties.
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